Introduction to Traffic Management
Disabled Parking - Blue Badge Holders
Blue Badge holders may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, and in limited waiting bays for an unrestricted period provided they display their parking disc showing the time of arrival.
Badge holders must not park in a bus lane or when a ban on loading or unloading is in force. In addition badge holders must not park on double white lines in the centre of the carriageway or at junctions or bus stops, in narrow roads, or where the vehicle may cause danger or an obstruction.
Highway Authority practice in town centres wherever possible is to incorporate disabled parking spaces at appropriate locations. A regulatory traffic sign and carriageway marking is used to indicate the designated position.
Advisory Disabled Parking Bay
We can provide an Advisory Disabled Parking Bay in residential streets subject to the following criteria:
- You must hold a current Disabled Badge.
- You must live at the address
- There are no parking restrictions (except residents only parking) outside your home
- You don't have a convenient off-street parking facility (this is decided at the discretion of the Council).
- If you don't drive we will make sure alternative arrangements cannot be made (for example your driver collects the vehicle and parks in front of the your address when you need to use the vehicle).
The disabled box marking is advisory only and cannot be enforced.
Contact the Highways Team for more information
Access Protection Markings
An access protection marking is a single white line painted on the road in front of a dropped kerb, indicating a length of road to be kept clear.
This is a courtesy marking, and is not enforceable by law. A charge is made to cover installation and future repainting.
Use the online application in Related Information to apply..
Do not complete this application form if your property does not have a legal access (dropped kerb). To enquire about installing a dropped kerb please use our online Dropped Kerb form in Related Information
Parking Restrictions - Yellow Lines
Yellow lines are provided where there is a need to restrict parking to help alleviate traffic flow and to prevent obstructions of the highway. There are only two types used:
- Double yellow lines usually to mark lengths of road where there is no waiting at any time. No plates are normally erected the lines being sufficient to indicate restriction.
- Single yellow lines usually indicate a shorter period of restriction such as daytime. Plates will show actual days and times of operation.
Loading restrictions are shown by yellow markings on the kerb and plates will show days and times of operation. Unless otherwise shown all yellow lines in Reading apply on bank holidays. The Highway Code gives examples of the lines in normal use.
Road signs fall into certain groups:
- Regulatory signs - signs with red circles.
- Warning signs - mostly triangular.
- Direction signs - mostly rectangular and show destinations and map type.
- Information signs - mostly rectangular.
All signs on the highway must be authorised by the Borough Council. Special signs are allowed with prior approval of the Department for Transport, or if they are experimental and under trial.
Tourism Signing provides an important role and is intended to direct visitors to attractions. The Highway Authority needs to balance tourism development objectives with road safety, traffic management and environmental objectives. Roads should not become overloaded with competing signs that detract from local environmental objectives and become a hazard in road safety terms.
The Borough Council receives many requests from residents for these to be introduced in their roads to reduce speeds and improve safety. Our policy is to use these measures primarily to address sites with a persistent record of personal injury accident
There can be opposition from the Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service and Bus Companies to the use of speed control humps. Speed control humps can lead to complaints about increased noise and sometimes, increased vibration from traffic. They have however been proved to reduce traffic speed and they have been installed in many places. There are regulations governing the layout of speed control humps. There must be a form of "slowing feature" - usually formed by a change of priority (traffic entering the system has to turn sharp left or right into the road, or has to "give way". Sometimes mini roundabouts are used at the start of a system of humps.
The shape of speed control humps are strictly regulated. They must be between 50mm and 100mm high, at least 3.7m long and extend over the full width of the road, except for a drainage channel at either end. They may have either flat tops or round tops. Many local authorities have adopted the 75mm high hump as a standard. This is because it has been found to reduce traffic to around 22 mph. The 100 mm high humps reduce speeds to 17 mph on the hump but speeds rise to 35 mph between the humps, causing excessive acceleration, braking and increased pollution. Flat topped humps can be of any length and are often known as "speed tables". They are sometimes used to reduce the impact on long wheel base vehicles such as buses.
Speed control humps can lead to complaints about increased noise and sometimes increased vibration from traffic. They have however been proved to reduce traffic speed and they have been installed in many locations.
Road Safety Schemes
We regularly monitor the personal injury accident records and identify sites for treatment as part of our annual road safety schemes programme. Sites identified for treatment are reported annually to Committee and subject to funding schemes are progressed each year.
Traffic Management schemes are introduced to solve an identified problem in one or more roads.The need for a scheme can be identified in a variety of ways. It may, for example, be a bad accident record or the concerns of residents that prompts an investigation. Sometimes the Council adopts an "area wide" approach to traffic problems, for example, where there is a demand from several residential roads for "Speed Control Humps". To deal with this, priority is given to the worst problems first.
Potential schemes are assessed against the following policies:
- to achieve safe movement by reducing accident levels.
- to promote and accommodate the maintenance and improvement of public transport.
- to restrain traffic and safeguard the environment.
- to seek equitable levels of mobility and accessibility for all groups of people, particularly for those presently disadvantaged in mobility terms ie. people with disabilities, children, women, the old and the infirm.
- to reduce the impact of commuter parking.
- to improve pedestrian safety, accessibility and convenience.
- to promote cycling.
Many traffic measures require the publication of a formal Notice in the press. A three week period is allowed for objections to be received. Formal objections are considered, and schemes may need to be re-designed with further Notices being published, before a legally enforceable Traffic Order can be made and the scheme introduced. The Council, as Highway Authority, is responsible for introducing and maintaining the physical measures and for making any necessary Traffic Orders but with the exception of parking schemes, enforcement of Traffic Orders is the responsibility of Police.
Examples of Traffic Management Measures
There is no single solution to problems associated with traffic management. A variety of measures are used sometimes in combination.
These are a form of speed control hump which are wide enough to allow a wide wheelbase vehicle to pass unhindered. Buses or a fire engines are not affected by them, whereas a smaller wheelbase vehicle, such as a car, would have to have at least one set of wheels on the hump. Thus cars are slowed, whereas other traffic is generally unaffected. These are intended to overcome the objections of the Emergency Services and Bus Companies. They make possible speed reduction measures in roads that would otherwise not have them introduced.
"Chicanes" and "Throttles"
Chicanes and throttles are intended to reduce traffic speed by reducing the available carriageway width throughout a short length.
- Chicanes introduce a physical deflection into the vehicles' horizontal path, thereby further reducing the vehicle speed.
- Throttles narrow the road, frequently to provide a safe crossing point for pedestrians, sometimes in conjunction with a speed table.
Kerb Build Outs
At some road junctions visibility is often reduced because of the shape of the road or because of parked cars. Building out the kerb into the carriageway can help solve this problem. It provides protection for motorists emerging from a side road as they can safely pull further out to see, and be seen. Pedestrians are similarly protected, have more space to stand and can also see and be seen better. Cars are forced to park further from a junction or crossing point.
Width restriction are a self enforcing means of restricting access for large vehicles. Posts or bollards are placed in the road about 2.1 metres (7 feet) apart, such that vehicles wider than this cannot pass between them. There must be an alternative route available for large vehicles such as refuse collection vehicles and this sometimes limits their application in residential areas.
Many residents mistakenly ask for width restrictions to be introduced as a means of slowing down traffic. Width restrictions do not, and are not intended to, reduce traffic speed.
One Way Streets, Banned Turns and No Entry
These help control traffic movements, without completely restricting access. They can stop commuter "rat-runs" which occur. One-way working may be for the whole length of a street, or in a short length at one end - a one-way plug. A suitable alternative route must be identified and available for traffic travelling in the opposite direction to the one-way street, or for traffic needing to turn in the direction of the ban. This alternative would not normally be via a residential road. One-way streets often lead to an increase in traffic speed. Short lengths are difficult to enforce if drivers are irresponsible and determined enough to drive against the one-way. This is dangerous and illegal. Some residents find one-way streets and banned movements inconvenient as they may result in reduced levels access to their homes.
These are an effective, self-enforcing, means of stopping all through traffic movements. Roads are usually closed except for cycles by a barrier. Sometimes access for emergency services e.g. Police, Fire and Ambulance vehicles is provided. Near to a road closure, it is necessary to make provision, on either side, for large vehicles to turn round. That is why it is not used in many residential areas. It may also be inconvenient to some residents as Road Closures limit access.
Standard roundabouts are intended to assist at a junction where there is a heavy right turning movement. They work best where traffic flows on each arm are reasonably well balanced and they allow traffic to flow comparatively freely.
Mini roundabouts are introduced both as a means of reducing accidents, by slowing traffic, and to assist right turning movements. Their advantage over full size roundabouts is that they can often be accommodated within the existing road space, without expensive road widening. As at a full size roundabout, the rule at a mini roundabout is "give way to traffic from the right".
The Council installs or upgrades several pedestrian crossings, (ie. zebra or signalled crossings) each year. Requests are often made by residents and each is examined on its individual merits. Many requests are not justified because of low levels of pedestrian movement. The following factors are taken into consideration in assessing the need for a crossing :
- the record personal injury accidents involving pedestrians.
- the volumes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and the potential for conflict between pedestrians and vehicles.
- the difficulty that pedestrians face from traffic speed and volumes.
- the length of time pedestrians have to wait before they can cross.
- proximity of locations which attract pedestrian activity through the day , eg. proximity to stations.
Pedestrian crossing do have shortcomings and are not the answer in every cases. Motorists who use the road regularly tend to ignore crossings if not often used. Similarly pedestrians can rely on the crossing and, rather than watching the traffic, assume that, because a "green man" is showing, the traffic will stop. Both of these problems can result in an increased risk to pedestrians rather than a decreased risk.
These signalled crossings are used on roads which have high traffic volumes, high traffic approach speeds or very high pedestrian flows. The time allocated for pedestrian crossing movement is dictated by DfT's guidelines and is based upon the width of the road. See pedestrian crossings (above).
These are used on roads of less importance, with lower pedestrian or traffic flows. See pedestrian crossings (above).
Traffic Islands/Pedestrian Refuges
Where a formal pedestrian crossing is not justified these can be installed. They assist pedestrians by letting them cross the road in two stages. The restriction to the use of this measure is the width of the carriageway. It must be at least 7.8m wide to allow for the island and two lanes of traffic.
School Crossing Patrols
The provision of School Crossing Patrols is a permissive function under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and it is the policy of the Highway Authority to provide patrol assistance where justified and for such reasonable periods determined by the needs of individual school populations, subject to the ability to recruit. Further information can be obtained from the Education Department.
Facilities for the Disabled
Tactile paving is now used at all new zebra and pelican crossings to help people with impaired vision. Similar tactile paving is also used at many ramped crossing points. Many single pelican crossings have audible signals, as well as the green man signal, to indicate when it is safe to cross the road. Some staggered two stage pelican crossings and some junction signals are fitted with a tactile knob on the pedestrian push-buttons, rather than an audible signal. This is so that visually impaired people can tell which part of the staggered crossing or junction is safe to cross.
Junction Entry Treatments
A junction entry treatment is placed across the carriageway of the minor road at a road junction. The object is to show motorists that they are leaving a main road and entering a residential area and to raise the priority for pedestrians crossing the junction. This treatment often has a speed table, kerb build out and gateway features.
White Carriageway Markings
Carriageway markings are a cheap and cost effective way of reducing accidents. At junctions they provide an indication of priorities, and as centre or lane lines, they indicate the best line for vehicles to follow. White markings are generally advisory.
Lane arrows are used on the approaches to traffic signalled junctions to indicate which lane should be used for turning and straight ahead movements. Lane arrows are generally not permitted on the approaches to roundabouts. SLOW markings are often used on the approach to a hazard.
Areas of central cross hatching, commonly called "ghost island" markings, are useful as a means of reducing accidents by separating on-coming traffic, reducing traffic speed and providing safe right turning areas. These, along with central traffic islands, have been shown to play a major part in reducing motor cycle accidents.
Continuous White Lines
Continuous white centre line markings must not be crossed and are generally used to prevent overtaking and reduce speeds in roads with poor visibility due to bends or the crests of hills. These are also used sparingly so that they are more effective and have more impact when they are used. There are criteria for the introduction of these markings based upon the speed of traffic and the visibility distances. It is also an offence to park in any section of road that is marked with a continuous white line. Continuous white lines may only be crossed by traffic that is turning right.
There are a number of grades of Priority Junction throughout the Borough. Some junctions in residential areas may have no form of priority road marking. However, wherever possible, these are being marked under ongoing maintenance and upgrading programmes to show which arm of the junction should give way.
Other junctions may have a "give way" line, "give way line and triangle marking" "give way line, a triangle marking and a give way sign". Some junctions may have a "Stop" sign and marking. These are used infrequently, in order to ensure that they have more impact on motorists. There are strict criteria, relating to visibility distances of approaching traffic, which must be met before "Stop" signs can be introduced.
Traffic Signals and Control
Traffic signals are designed to optimise and control traffic at a junction by sharing out the time to different arms of the junction and to pedestrians. Traffic signals do not always solve accident problems. See Traffic Lights (click here)
Closures and Diversions - Roads/Footways/Footpaths
Sometimes works on the highway, or some large deliveries, require a road, footway or footpath to be closed temporarily to general traffic or pedestrians. Such closures require a traffic regulation order issued by the highway authority. All costs involved for both the closure and diversion signing will have to be met by the person requesting the closure. Details are given on the application form. As there is a legal and consultative process to be undertaken, at least 8 weeks notice of a closure is required.
Please complete and return the road closure application form, which can be download as a PDF at the end of this page. Your completed form should be mailed to the Traffic Management Section, Civic Offices, Reading RG1 7TD, see contact at the bottom of the page for out telephone number. If you have any queries when completing the form please contact (See contact below).
Speed is a significant factor in about one third of road accidents in the United Kingdom. This is particularly so in urban areas, where speeding vehicles can adversely affect the quality of life of many communities. Speed limits are introduced to ensure greater road safety. Measures for influencing the speed of vehicles generally fall into two categories, legislative and physical. Speed limits fall into the first category whereas traffic calming devices would fall into the second.
Comprehensive information on the speed limits you would expect to come across on the different category of road is given in chart form in The Highway Code. In urban areas, speed limits should fit into a rational and easily understood hierarchy if they are to be observed by drivers. Before deciding to change an existing speed limit the Highway Authority must consider all the relevant factors such as:
- expected accident savings.
- mprovement to the environment.
- improvement in amenities.
- reduction in public anxiety.
- improved facilities for vulnerable road users.
- delays to traffic.
- costs of implementation.
- costs of engineering measures and their maintenance.
- costs of enforcement, especially where the speed limit is regarded as unreasonable by drivers.
If it is considered that a change in the speed limit is warranted then a new Speed limit Order has to be made. This would require committee approval and funding allocated. If approved it would then require a statutory legal process that can take approximately 9 months to complete. If you wish to report a vandalised/missing speed limit sign, please contact us, or complete the highway defect form available at the bottom of this page.
If the road in question has a system of street lighting on it with no speed limit repeater signs the road is already subject to 30mph and as such the Highway Authority is not permitted to place 30mph repeater signs on it. The system of street lighting in a built up area should be sufficient evidence of 30mph limit.
Demonstrations and Parades
Sometimes, in special circumstances roads are closed to allow sporting events or parades to take place. When special events require the road to be closed off to general traffic a temporary road closure will be required which can only be granted with the written agreement of the police. Such closures require a traffic regulation order. All cost involved for both the closure and diversion signing will have to be borne by the event organiser. At least six weeks notice is required and for some events up to three months will be needed in order to organise them properly. Large events may require even longer!
Usually roads which are closed for sporting events can only be closed once a year without the consent of The Secretary of State. Demonstrations can not be dealt with by the Council and for these events the police must be contacted so that they can make the appropriate arrangements.
On average, 10 people die and 100 people are seriously injured on Great Britain's roads each day. Two-thirds of all crashes in which people are killed or injured happen on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less. At 35mph a driver is twice as likely to kill someone as they are at 30mph.
- hit by a car at 40mph, 9 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed
- hit by a car at 30mph, around 50 per cent of pedestrians will survive
- hit by a car at 20mph, only 1 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed
Accident risk rises the faster a driver travels. At 25 per cent above the average speed, a driver is about six times more likely to have an accident than a driver travelling at the average speed. At 30mph, vehicles travel 44 feet (about three car lengths) every second. Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30mph and 35mph is an extra 21 feet - more than two car lengths.
Enforcement of speed limits is a matter for Thames Valley Police.
The purpose of safety cameras is to change driver behaviour - they are only used when people break speed limits. When this happens a camera detects the offence and provides evidence for a fixed penalty notice. Drivers who choose to exceed the legal speed limits will incur a minimum penalty of £60 and three penalty points on their driving licence. It has been proved nationally that traffic cameras can reduce the number of road crashes and protect road users by encouraging people to drive more slowly.
Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership manage this on behalf of the Berkshire Highway Authorities more information can be obtained on their website (link at the bottom of the page).
Reading Borough Council does not necessarily endorse or recommend any of the links or services below. Please note: when you follow these links you will leave this site.
|saferroads.org||www.saferroads.org: Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership
|gov.uk||Highway Code: The Highway Code website
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