Good design

Sustainability and climate change are central to our future road design

Good design

The purpose of 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.

Design guidance

The road to good design (our design principles).

People, places and processes: A guide to good design at National Highways

Learning on the road to good design: Case studies

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.

Learn more about design review

On the road to good design: design review at National Highways

Design review at National Highways: a guide

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.

Strategic Design Panel Progress Reports

Progress report 1 (2017)

Progress report 2 (2018)

Progress report 3 (2019)

Progress report 4 (2021)

Progress report 5 (2022)