Roading and solid waste manager Tom Greenwood said the upgrade to light-emitting diode (LED) traffic lights was an economic and safety improvement.
A light-emitting diode is an electronic device that lights up when electricity is passed through it. They are often relatively small and do not burn out.
Quartz halogen lights, commonly used in traffic lights, have only one bulb, which when it blew meant the light no longer illuminated and needed to be replaced, Mr Greenwood said.
This would not happen with LED lights so there was an extra benefit of reduced maintenance costs.
LED lights also had a more even light spread, which improved visibility for drivers, particularly at times when sun strike affected brightness.
The upgrade would start with major highways and roads that had higher crash rates but the council planned to eventually upgrade all traffic lights, Mr Greenwood said.
Traffic lights already upgraded included the intersections at Bay and North roads, Bainfield and North roads, Queens Dr and Tay and Lindisfarne streets.
The new LED traffic lights cost $1350 as opposed to the quartz halogen type, which had cost $1000.