The Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA), Part 3 Sections 32-39, and the Traffic Management Permit Scheme (England) Regulations 2007 make provision for Permit Schemes to be introduced in England. The South East Permit Scheme (SEPS) was adopted by East Sussex County Council on 11 November 2013 and has been operational in East Sussex for three years. East Sussex Highways (ESH) is the partnership between ESCC/ Costain/CH2M/Jacobs and to deliver many aspects of highway planning and maintenance.
The process enacted by East Sussex follows best practice guidance issued by GeoPlace and JAG(UK) on how to undertake a Traffic Sensitive review within a local highway authority and is available here.
As the highway authority, East Sussex Highways (ESH) has a duty to ensure effective co-ordination and management of the road network to minimise disruption, while allowing necessary time and space for roadworks to be completed. ESH is committed to reducing congestion and better network management.
The Permit Scheme delivers clear benefits to all road users through the control of works across the network but the current scheme required a more robust approach to the protection of Traffic Sensitive Streets (TSS) to continue to operate to best effect.
The last full Traffic Sensitive Streets (TSS) Review took place over 12 years ago in East Sussex. Traffic flows and congestion have changed dramatically during the last decade with the development of housing, out of town retail centres, home shopping deliveries, to name but a few. Whilst the designation of TSS does not prevent works, it helps to ensure the improved regulation of works in the busiest areas of the network. Designations in many cases were no longer fit for purpose and an update was long overdue.
The process started in October 2017 and the review was informed by:
• Traffic Flows (2016)
• Existing TSS Network in spreadsheet format and as a GIS File
• A & B Roads without TSS designation
• PRN as GIS File
• Reinstatement Category 1-3 Streets without a TSS designation
• Local knowledge
Initial stages identified gaps in the existing TSS network and USRNs from the authority’s Local Street Gazetteer were added to the working document. The internal review took place between October and January and a final consultation document was published in February 2018.
The consultation spreadsheet listed:
• Existing TSS streets (crossreferenced to Street Number)
• Existing Reinstatement Category and suggested new Reinstatement Category based on 2016 traffic counts
• Proposed designation periods (until the review all TSS streets were designated during the morning and evening peak times only)
• Required measures and proposed locations.
The following stakeholders received the full consultation document:
• East Sussex County Council Asset Management
• East Sussex County Council Passenger Transport Executive
• Statutory Undertakers known to be working in East Sussex: BT, SGN, Southern Water, South East Water, UKPN, Virgin
• Statutory Undertakers giving notice of its intention to work in East Sussex
• District and Borough Councils: Eastbourne, Hastings Lewes, Rother, Wealden
• The Chief Constable of Sussex Police
• The Chief Fire Officer of East Sussex Fire & Rescue
• The Chief Executive of South East Coast Ambulance Trust
• Other Street Authorities including Highways England and Network Rail
Responses were collated and a response document circulated in March 2018
27 detailed responses to comments received were circulated widely and the Authority Street Custodian also attended a SEHAUC meeting to answer questions and also gained support from neighbouring authorities. East Sussex was commended for the transparency of its consultation.
There were no further comments to the response document and in April and May, the Custodian undertook the work to update each individual street; also taking the opportunity to update the Early Notification (Dial Before You Dig) streets.
New ASD was released across May and June and in June, the SEHAUC group received a final summary document which provided detail on the Actual changes made to streets.
Prior to consultation, there were 1467 TSS Streets with standard duration of Mon-Fri morning and evening. At consultation, 1659 TSS streets were identified across four main TSS periods. The final total of TSS Streets was actually lower than the starting point at 1438; 218 streets were deleted and 677 remained unchanged from the Standard Weekday Peak Times.
GeoPlace were extremely helpful with recommendations and the guidance that they produced helped ESH to deliver an extremely valuable Traffic Sensitive consultation.
• The TSS review is benefitting ESH in numerous ways:
• Local considerations for traffic control have now been properly recorded via the Gazetteer.
• The increase in TSS durations on key streets allow co-ordinators to have better control over traffic management requirements for internal works as well as external undertakers.
• The introduction of further weekend restrictions provides for local traffic flows at retail parks and tourist spots.
• The TSS network has been thoroughly researched and recorded by a team of local experts, providing coverage of the Classified Road network
• The review has enabled the extension of Early Notification (Dial Before you Dig) streets from around 30 to 357, allowing further control of work and information flow on the network.