Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 7


  1.  The "Design Manual for Roads and Bridges" (DMRB) or the manual) is a comprehensive document, which accommodates, within a set of 15 loose-leaf volumes, all current standards, advice notes and other published documents relating to the design, assessment and operation of trunk roads (including motorways). The manual is available on paper or as a compact disc from the Stationary Office, and can be viewed on the HA website.

  2.  The manual has been developed from a number of separate series of documents previously published by the Overseeing Organisations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each document in the manual is numbered and has a prefix HD, HA, BD, BA TD or TA, which nominally relates to highway, bridges or traffic aspects of design. Other aspects are included—environment and appraisal in particular.

  3.  The manual may be applicable in part to other roads with similar characteristics. Where it is used for local road schemes, it is for the responsible highway authority to decide on the extent to which the documents in the manual are appropriate in any particular situation.

  4.  The manual embodies the collective experience of Overseeing Organisations, their agents and design organisations over many years resulting from research and practical management of the trunk road system. The pedigree stretches back over 30 years particularly for cornerstone standards associated with alignment, stopping distances and road width. It is continuously reviewed, to keep abreast of changes in practice and developments in technology, to implement findings from research, to improve safety, to reduce environmental impact and to give better value for money.

  5.  The manual has been prepared for use by appropriately qualified and experienced professional staff. It is neither a statutory or regulatory document nor a training manual; neither does it cover every point in exhaustive detail. Many matters are left to the professional expertise and judgement of users, while others are covered elsewhere in European or British standards, in codes of practice and in specifications that are cross referenced in the text. The technical requirements given in the manual must be adhered to for trunk roads except where special circumstances arise and the straightforward application of technical requirements cannot be justified for good reason. Each Overseeing Organisation has procedures for considering such proposals on their merits and accepting or rejecting them.

  6.  DTLR prepares general advice, some of which is applicable to trunk roads. Of these the most relevant are Local Transport Notes, which in most cases refer to requirements having a statutory backing which apply fully or in part to trunk roads. Other documents such as Traffic Advisory and Traffic Topic Leaflets cover topics which can apply to all roads and give illustrated examples of successful applications of layouts, techniques and trials eg TAL 1/95 "Speed Limit Signs—A guide to good practice".

  7.  In addition, there are other documents, particularly the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, the Road Traffic Regulations Act, and the Traffic Signs Manual, which includes "Chapter 8" dealing with Traffic Safety Measures and Signs for Road Works and Temporary Situations; these documents apply to all roads.

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