Good design

Sustainability and climate change are central to our future road design

Good design

Good design helps us achieve a higher quality of life, greater economic vitality and a more efficient use of resources.

We put people at the heart of our work by designing an inclusive, resilient and sustainable Strategic Road Network (SRN).

We want our network to be appreciated for its elegance as well as its usefulness.

Good design should reflect the beauty of the environment surrounding our network and enhance it where possible.

Our design policy

The road to good design

PDF 752Kb
View document
This file may not be accessible. Request a different format

To support our vision for the network, we have established a set of principles for good road design which follow the themes of people, places and processes. These will encourage better design and provide the basis for road schemes to be objectively reviewed.


Design guidance

This file may not be accessible. Request a different format

Ten principles of good road design support our vision for a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable network. Since publication in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, these have become a requirement for design practice and scheme design.

This file may not be accessible. Request a different format

The road to good design set out our design vision and principles for the strategic road network. This first series of case studies helps us to define our design principles and what ‘good’ looks like. They challenge us to improve our approach to design and the quality of the network and inspire by illustrating what creative design can achieve.


10 principles of good road design

These principles help us achieve our design vision.

Good road design:

1 makes roads safe and useful
2 is inclusive
3 makes roads understandable
4 fits in context
5 is restrained
6 is environmentally sustainable
7 is thorough
8 is innovative
9 is collaborative
10 is long-lasting

Design review

Design reviews are an integral part of our approach to good road design. They give us the scheme-specific observations and general recommendations that help us put good design at the heart of network improvements.

Following the Strategic Design Panel recommendation, we created an independent design review panel of built environment experts.

The review panel impartially evaluates all our proposals and constructively challenges our design approach.

The panel helps us to deliver schemes which benefit local communities and the environment.

This file may not be accessible. Request a different format

This is the first overview of design reviews undertaken between the end of 2017 and 2021 for a range of schemes and standards. It sets out the process and benefits of design review and learning from those undertaken so far.

This file may not be accessible. Request a different format

Design review is helping us improve the design quality of the strategic road network. This is a guide to the design review process and set out when to seek advice, how to prepare for a review and what to expect.

Case study: A417 missing link - a crucial connection
Case study: A417 missing link - a crucial connection;

Strategic Design Panel

The independent Strategic Design Panel helps us ensure that all our road projects demonstrate design excellence in landscape, engineering and the built environment.

Panel members come from a range of disciplines, all committed to improving the design and quality of our network. The Panel considers design as a means of adding value and maximising opportunities, not just mitigating adverse effects.

The Panel advises us how to:

  • adopt a context led approach to network development
  • design road improvements, network management and operations
  • develop design standards and processes that meet government requirements

The Strategic Design Panel publishes regular reports every 18 months detailing its progress and giving recommendations for current and future road periods.