The congestion caused by stop-start driving could soon be a thing of the past if a new smart traffic light trial is successful.

The lights will advise road users of the optimum speed to arrive at the next traffic lights just as they turn green.

As well as reducing congestion, it is hoped emissions will be cut because people will drive or ride more efficiently.

US engineering company AECOM are developing the new lights, which are to be trialled on a simulated model of York's A59.

The smart traffic lights are one of five ideas that have been short-listed in a competition to design roads for autonomous vehicles. The scheme is being run by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), Highways England and Innovate UK.

"We are excited and are eager to get started so we can better understand the potential impact of vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies on our local road network in York," said AECOM principal consultant Heather Hawkins.

"We are fortunate to be living and working in a city which has chosen to be an early innovator, deploying and testing these technologies on-street through existing research programmes. It's truly inspiring and we are grateful to be a part of it."

NIC chairman Sir John Armitt said: "We can see for ourselves the progress in developing cars for the future, with trials of driverless cars taking place across the country."

"We now need to make sure the technology on our roads keeps up."

Stop-start driving is in the spotlight because it means drivers accelerate more often, increasing emissions. In addition, it causes brakes to wear out more quickly.

Almost exactly a year ago Milton Keynes revealed it was to be the first UK city to install similar smart traffic lights. These systems will identify heavy congestion and adjust their pattern in response.