Traffic Regulation Orders

This article was published in 2016, in Newsletter 129.

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Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) form the basic of the controls on speed, parking, access controls etc in the UK, but finding out what’s what and where’s where is hardly easy as much is still only in paper records, only slightly more accessible than a locked basement with no lights at the relevant local authority.

In Cambridge we are better off than many owing to the enterprise, diligence, and hard volunteer work of Ben Harris, a member of Cambridge University’s Information Services division.

Ben has been maintaining on-line, searchable records since 2009. These try to present the current state of the law and the effect of amendments on the streets of Cambridge. These are generally only updated once each year, but do enable you to find out if, for example, a street is a ‘one-way’ street or just a false ‘oneway’ where entry in the ‘wrong’ direction is blocked for a motor vehicle. Of course it can throw up some oddities. Last time I looked it appeared that only ‘bicycles’ can use some cycle lanes and hence tricycles are technically excluded! His site includes a searchable map which shows roughly the area covered by some of the ‘Area’ orders.

I’ve heard that it is more than just cycling campaigners who use this valuable resource. There have been proposals for a national database with searchable maps, but so far these have come to nothing.

It is about time that local authorities pressed the government to invest in a national database of all TROs.

Jim Chisholm