SOUTHEND’S cabbies have thrown their support behind a £600,000 traffic-busting scheme to stop drivers waiting at red lights unnecessarily and cut journey times across the city.

Traffic lights across Southend – including on the A127 and A13 – will be upgraded to “maximise green times” and reduce the time drivers are stuck waiting at red lights.

The new technology will see traffic lights change colour based on traffic flow and AC Radio Cabs driver Paul Leonard believes it will be a huge boost around schools and Southend Hospital where traffic varies throughout the day.

He added that weather can also be a huge factor in Southend - with sunshine leading to extra cars and rain leaving roads empty across the city.

“On a warm Saturday, Victoria Avenue is solid with traffic but next week it may rain and it won’t be, the traffic light timing remains the same,” Paul said.

“If you had sensors, you wouldn’t need someone to programme it, it would pick up the traffic flow and I wouldn’t have to spend such a long time in lights, as a driver you try to avoid them entirely and it isn’t always possible.”

Alongside the A127 and A13, new technology will be installed in Progress Road and Southchurch Road, while Paul also highlighted the often gridlocked Cuckoo Corner as an area that could benefit.

He said: “It is a real issue across Southend.

“Around Cuckoo Corner in particular, that is where the pinch areas are that we see and the technology being used for traffic lights could be better.

“You obviously need traffic lights, in my opinion Southend is nowhere near as bad as London is but the temporary lights here are really bad and they cause real problems for me at certain times of day – that is something that could be looked into and improved.

“The technology is there to be used for traffic lights, sensors that can actually change in response to traffic.

Mr Leonard added the area around Southend Hospital is a particular issue and is often worse around school times, a situation that could be resolved with “smarter” traffic lights.

Stephen Noakes, advisory manager at Ac Radio Cabs added: “Anything that reduces traffic being stationary is welcomed.

“Not only for the taxi trade but it is better for the environment.

“Only time will tell if this technology works, fingers crossed it does.”