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Highway Engineers specialise in the design and construction of our roads and streets, but how do they decide which is the most appropriate solution?
This resource provides an introduction to the various road and street types, the balance of place and movement, the primary function and purpose of each, giving links to design standards guidance and further information.
The Department for Transport (DfT) in Manual for Streets (2007) gives a clear definition of streets and roads:
‘Place’ and ‘Movement’ are the two fundamental components of street design, with place being given priority above movement. The SCOTS National Roads Development Guide (NRDG) define this relationship between ‘Place’ and ‘Movement’ as:
All roads and streets should be planned and designed from this perspective. For example, Designing Streets (2010) explain that defining the relative importance of particular streets/roads in terms of place and movement functions should inform subsequent design choices. For example:
When engineers design streets, there are a range of minimum standards required to guide the safe and efficient passage for various types of street users.
Manual for Streets (2007) explains that street character types in new residential developments should be determined by the relative importance of both their place and movement functions. The NRDG also states that a street layout which fails to recognise the street character types and frequency of its users is also likely to fail with regard to the wider structure of the street network.
Any street whilst considering place before movement must balance all associated functions and considerations to deliver a sustainable and adaptable outcome.
There are several types of road, which have their individual and specific functions. Designing Streets (2010) provides a summary of the individual road types:
Other routes, not for motor vehicles:
A Motorway is a strategic road for major traffic movement between centres of population and are classified in England as Special Roads – roads where certain types of traffic are prohibited.
The PRN, in England, designates roads between places of traffic importance across the UK, with the aim of providing easily identifiable routes to access the whole of the country (DfT, 2012). The PRN is constructed from a series of locations (primary destinations) selected by the Department for Transport, which are then linked by roads (primary routes) selected by the local highway authority.
The PRN is a devolved matter. Several primary routes run between England and Scotland or England and Wales, meaning cooperation between highways bodies across borders is required. The criteria for defining a primary destination are purposefully flexible, in order to allow the PRN to serve the whole of the country.
All Primary routes consist of an A road or sequence of A roads, forming a continuous route between two primary destinations. All UK roads (excluding motorways) fall into the following four categories:
Highways England produces standards and documentation relating to the design, construction and maintenance of highways. Documents are available free online, including:
Further information related to standards for highways is also available on the Standards for Highways online resource webpage.
ICE Training provides a range of courses to help you improve your understanding and knowledge of highways engineering. Courses include:
View more training from ICE Training