Councils have been urged to remove 80% of traffic lights, with a new report claiming this would improve road safety and boost the economy.
Research published by the Institute of Economic Affairs argues that every two-minute delay to a car journey equates to a loss of approximately £16bn every year.
Using case studies from across the world, the report says that 80% of Britain's traffic lights could be taken out and replaced with a shared spaces approach. It also found that when regulations are removed, drivers behaved with more consideration to other road users.
It found that in Ashford, road accidents had been reduced by 41% since the introduction of shared spaces, while Poynton had managed to reduce accident rates by 70% after it scrapped traffic lights, railings, signage and bollards.
Richard Wellings, head of transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: 'It's quite clear that traffic management has spread far beyond the locations where it might be justified, to the detriment of the economy, environment and road safety.
'The evidence of shared space schemes shows the transformational benefits of less regulated approach, whilst the removal of a high proportion of traffic lights would deliver substantial economic and social benefits.'