USRNs – simple but powerful
The Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) is an 8 digit unique identifier for every street across Great Britain. There are over 1.4 million USRNs in England and Wales. And they can be found within the National Street Gazetteer (NSG) and OS MasterMap Highways Network. The NSG is the authoritative source of information about streets in England and Wales and is a compilation of data from 174 highway authorities' Local Street Gazetteers. This data is collected on a daily basis, validated and assured by GeoPlace.
The USRN is underpinned by legislation and statutory functions to name and number streets and maintain highways. A USRN never changes and guarantees the identification of the street, providing confidence to those needing authoritative information about the road network.
USRNs are used by all 174 local highway authorities, Welsh Government, National Highways and Transport for London to coordinate 3m+ roadworks with over 500 utilities and their contractors across England and Wales. The data underpins the Department for Transport’s Street Manager service to plan, manage and record these works.
USRNs are used similarly in Scotland. The process to provide information about USRNs in Scotland is managed by the Improvement Service, and in Northern Ireland by the Department for Infrastructure.
2nd April 2020, the Government announced that the Unique Property
Reference Number (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) will
be released under an Open Government Licence (OGL). Additionally, the Government Digital Service has mandated that
the UPRN and USRN are to be the public sector standard for referencing
and sharing property and street information. See more information - new freedoms to share UPRNs and USRNs.
“Systems, services and applications that store or publish data sets containing property and street information must use the UPRN and USRN identifiers” Identifying property and street information, 2020
FindMyStreet shows every street in England and Wales that’s held in the National Street Gazetteer. It will tell you where a street is, what its official name is, and the maintenance responsibility of that street. The data is created and maintained by local authorities, collected, and managed centrally by GeoPlace. Find out more about FindMyStreet here.
Who allocates USRNs
Each local authority is provided a USRN range, that is centrally allocated and managed by GeoPlace.
Local authorities have a statutory responsibility that means they are the source of information for both street naming and numbering and managing the highways network. This means they are solely responsible for assigning USRNs and UPRNs for each street and address record in their area.
Why do we need USRNs
Highways authorities and utility companies strive to provide the best possible service for everyone both use our road networks and those working on it. This means collaboration before, during and after any works taking place on the highway is extremely important. The USRN is a key to ensuring works on street can be planned more effectively. For the public, this means less traffic congestion, increased safety and lower levels of disruption to road users.
links authoritative information about the street, and the requirement to provide this information is embedded in legislation
provides interoperability across systems and organisations at a local, regional and national level
provides a fundamental building block for address records in the AddressBase suite of products
enables the data needed for accurate planning; streetworks and reduces the costs of collaboration
provides an ideal evidence-base for performance measurement and efficiency
are open data with unique core referencing to facilitate onward use
Underpinning national DfT initiatives
USRNs are unique and stable national identifiers for street data and support interoperability across systems and organisations locally, regionally and nationally. They support the publication of open data with unique core referencing to facilitate onward use and help to create an evidence base for policy evaluation, performance measures and a mechanism for reporting. Use of the USRN in ongoing Department for Transport projects has the potential to:
- maximise the value of authoritative data in the Department and in local authorities
- create a framework for data exchange and publication across initiatives
- enable industry to provide innovate customer centric solutions
“USRNs are a golden thread for us, it allows us to build up important information about a street that can be used to make crucial decisions. The ability to link data from what assets exist to information related to emergency responses enable us to make key decisions on maintenance and priorities. Without the use of USRNs in datasets we lose the ability to plan, communicate, collaborate and react effectively"