Lorry Routes & Bans

This measure was updated by INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORT STUDIES (ITS) in 2014 under the CH4LLENGE project, financed by the European Commission.


Lorries can cause environmental damage and community severance if allowed to traverse residential areas.  They can cause structural damage if allowed on unsuitable roads. Lorry routes are used to achieve Positive Routeing by specifying the routes which lorries can take.  Lorry bans achieve Negative Routeing by specifying areas through which they may not pass. Both routes and bans are typically applied to certain categories of lorry, and most bans will have exemptions for access.

Lorry routes are harder to impose than bans, since they leave the lorry driver less flexibility in choice of route and means of access.  Lorry bans can have beneficial impacts on liveability, environment and safety in the areas protected.  However, this can be offset by adviser impacts elsewhere, unless there are suitable alternative routes.  While they may reduce congestion by transferring lorries to more suitable routes, they will typically add to the operating costs of the lorry fleet, and may as a result give rise to inefficiencies, which need to be considered alongside the environmental and safety benefits.  

Terminology

An efficient system of road freight transport is very important for any economy. All sectors of business rely on a complex flow of raw materials, components and finished goods. Society, however, perceives lorries as a nuisance which can have several detrimental effects, such as noise, environmental intrusion and damage to infrastructure. This had led to the development of numerous lorry management techniques, aimed at reducing the nuisance.

A Lorry, or ‘heavy commercial vehicle’ (HGV), is defined as any goods vehicle with an operating weight, (i.e. gross permitted weight) exceeding 7.5 tonnes.

Many of the measures which can reduce the environmental impact of lorries require legal procedures to be followed for their implementation. Section 2 of the UK Traffic Regulation Act 1984, is concerned with amenity control on goods vehicles, which local authorities may introduce, which include:

  • Control of ‘through’ routes used by heavy goods commercial vehicles;
  • Prohibitions or restrictions on the use of heavy commercial vehicles in such roads or zones “as may be considered expedient for preserving or improving the amenities of their area or of some part or parts of their area” (Traffic Regulation Act 1984).

Types of Lorry Routes and Bans

Lorry Routes

Control of through routes relates to Positive Routeing, i.e. specifying mandatory through routes for lorries. However, experience has shown that mandatory routes are not very practical. Drivers’ understanding and compliance is likely to be very poor, and signing of the routes can be very complex. Therefore many authorities have changed their approach to Negative Routeing, i.e. specifying roads and zones which are prohibited to lorries but subject to exemptions, such as unloading. Advisory routeing for lorries is now widely used.

The proportion of lorries in a large conurbation on a through trip is generally small. Controls used in smaller conurbations are not always suitable for larger conurbations in reducing overall environmental disturbance, since lorries in larger conurbations will re-route into adjoining areas. A total ban of vehicles passing through the conurbation would also affect a small proportion of the flows.

Successful routeing controls depend upon the existence of a suitable network of purpose-designed roads which are able to accommodate increased lorry flows (the lorries displaced from adjoining areas). Previous experience has shown that concentrating lorry flows on to a small number of roads, some of which may be environmentally sensitive, may not be acceptable. Therefore the roads identified for an urban lorry network are likely to be busy roads with poor existing environmental conditions.

Lorry management does not only involve regulating, restricting or banning lorries. It can also be used to assist lorries to become more efficient, for example by improving access to, and circulation within urban areas. The more efficiently lorries and industry operate, the greater the likelihood thatfewer lorries will be needed. However, the inefficiency and unreliability of road networks, combined with over-restrictive control measures, can increase lorry traffic. Positive lorry policy is likely to yield environmental and economic benefits.

A number of authorities have introduced local advisory routeing schemes, which identify preferred routes for lorries entering town centres, industrial estates, retail parks and other areas of significant lorry build-up. The area is usually divided into zones; with the preferred routes serving each zone codified by a letter, number, symbol or colour, and hence signed appropriately. To be a success, such schemes need good publicity and coverage, (i.e. information displayed in the form of maps and leaflets), and co-operation of local firms (i.e. advising their suppliers).

Lorry Bans

Lorry bans can be enforced in several ways, including physical barriers. Although physical barriers are non-regulatory, i.e. self enforcing, they do require a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) if placed on the highway, as they will prevent the passage of vehicles otherwise lawfully allowed.

The simplest physical measure is a height-limiting barrier, which is usually used to give advance warning ahead of physical restrictions, but can be useful for preventing access for oversized vehicles. Physical width restrictions may be narrowed to less than 2.5m at selected points to prevent to the passage of large vehicles. Width-restrictions can effectively create cul-de-sacs without turning space so large vehicles become trapped and may have to reverse for long distances. It is essential that they are located intelligently and signed well in advance.

Using the UK as an example, the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 gave local authorities wide-ranging powers to local authorities to regulate traffic. Many local authorities have taken powers under the Act to protect sensitive parts of the highway structure from the effects of heavy lorries, for example, prohibiting them from using weak or low bridges, using both regulatory and advance warning signs.

Why introduce lorry routes and bans?

The popularity of Lorries for the movement of goods is unsurprising given the efficiency and reliability of the service, combined with the relatively short distance of the average freight trip. The development of JIT (just-in-time) delivery systems, with growth in out-of-town distribution centres, has eliminated many town centre lorry trips by individual suppliers. However, this development has led to the growth in small and medium sized vehicles

Although the total number of heavy Lorries registered has been declining, the average weight and size has increased, which gives rise to complaints made about noise and exhaust emissions. Pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers feel their safety is compromised, especially on unsuitable roads, usually because Lorries have no alternative. In a survey:

  • 33% hearing lorries were bothered by them
  • Heavy Lorries are 13 times more noisy than cars in congestion
  • Vibration correlated best with lorry flows
  • 37% consider lorries produce worse fumes

Lorry routes and bans may help combat such problems and help prevent damage to existing infrastructure. Each year there are around 1000 bridge strikes in the UK by over height vehicles and loads, some of which cause great damage to bridge structures, which result in serious hazards to rail and road and impose heavy costs of delay and congestion.

Heavy lorries are the main cause of damage to road surfaces and the structure of roads. They may also contribute to damage to underground services and adjacent buildings.

Short and long run demand responses

Lorry routes and bans are likely to increase the demand for car use in some cases. This is due to reduced congestion from certain routes and the motorist experiencing a more efficient transport system, thus making driving a more attractive option. However, where Lorries are re-routed, car use is likely to fall as these routes become more congested. Along these routes, demand for public transport may increase.

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations
Lorries may leave longer for their journeys to avoid banned routes. Journey times are longer so they need an earlier departure time.
Lorries re-route to avoid bans or follow compulsory routes.
Lorries are unlikely to change their destination.
Lorries are unlikely to reduce the number of trips they make.
Lorries are the only viable option for mass haulage in most cases.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Short, medium and long term responses

Demand responses
Response 1st year 2-4 years 5 years 10+ years
 
 
  Compress working week No response No response No response
  Ride share No response No response No response
  Compress working week No response No response No response
  Compress working week No response No response No response
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Supply impacts

Lorry Routes are likely to increase the supply of road space available to lorry drivers, especially if they have specially designated lorry lanes. If Lorry bans are in effect, total supply of road space to lorries is inevitably going to fall.

Financing requirements

Lorry routes and bans are not likely to incur considerable cost in their implementation. The major cost associated is that of road markings, signage and enforcement.

Expected impact on key policy objectives

The removal of Lorries from certain routes is likely to contribute to economic efficiency, environment in those areas and increased safety along those routes. Less congestion will lead to increased trade in the area as it is more accessible. Fewer lorries mean the environment will improve in that particular area, in terms of air quality and noise. However, increased journey times and distance mayl increase pollution overall. The re-routing of Lorries is likely to lead to decreased safety along those routes.

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  Re-routeing of lorries to more suitable roads should improve efficiency, but lorry operating costs may increase.
  Less congestion will lead to more liveable streets. However where lorries are re-routed this may lead to less liveable streets in these areas.
  There should be improvements in protected areas.  However, lorry journey distance may increase, leading to more pollution in terms of air quality and noise
  Less congestion means pubic transport will become more efficient, which provide benefits to the less mobile.
  Re-routing lorries to more suitable roads will enhance safety levels.
  Reduced congestion means areas are more accessible and hence increased trade. Haulage companies however may suffer from increased operating costs from longer journey times.
  Lorry routes and bans are relatively inexpensive.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected impact on problems

Lorry routes and bans have considerable potential to reduce problems associated with congestion, environment and safety in an area. However where Lorries are re-routed may lead to an increase of problems, such as congestion and pollution, in that area. Lorry routes and bans can tend to merely move the problems to another area rather than the eradicate them.

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion

Congestion will be reduced as lorries are re-routed or banned from areas, although lorry operating costs may increase.
Community impacts Removal of lorries from certain areas, especially residential areas, will lead to less communitydisturbance.
Environmental damage By reducing the emissions of noise, NOx, particulates and other local pollutants in sensitive areas, but these may be increased elsewhere.
Poor accessibility A more efficient public transport system will benefit the less mobile.
Social or geographic disadvantage Those close to new lorry routes or subjected to increased flows as lorries find alternative routes.
Accidents Reducing Lorry flows from sensitive areas will reduce accidents.
Economic growth By improving an area’s accessibility and by improving the efficiency of the local road network, although decreased lorry access may suppress turnover for business who rely on lorries for deliveries.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected winners and losers

Winners and losers

Group

Winners/Losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

Lorry routes and bans will lead to longer journeys as a result of routing away from sensitive areas or new routes to avoid bans. As a result, operating costs are likely to rise.

Small businesses

Small businesses are likely to be both winners and losers. Less congestion will mean access will be increased. However, delivery costs may rise as haulage companies experience higher operating costs.

High income car-users

Less congestion as a result of fewer lorries means journey times are shorter, although this may eventually rise as people realise the benefits of car travel.
Low income car-users with poor access to public transport Again Less congestion as a result of fewer lorries means journey times are shorter, although this may eventually rise as people realise the benefits of car travel.
All existing public transport users Existing bus users will benefit from the enhanced service quality as a result of less congestion.

People living adjacent to the area targeted

Will suffer from diverted traffic.

Cyclists including children

Should benefit from reduced lorry traffic on local roads.

People at higher risk of health problems exacerbated by poor air quality

Should benefit from reduced lorry traffic on local roads.

People making high value, important journeys

Less congestion as a result of fewer lorries means journey times are shorter, although this may eventually rise as people realise the benefits of car travel.
The average car users Should benefit from reduced lorry traffic on local roads.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal Some form of planning approval or traffic regulations will generally be required, though usually no need for legislation or public inquiry.
Finance Total scheme costs are generally relatively low.
Governance Limited number of institutions involved.
Political acceptability Removing lorries away from sensitive areas is likely to be perceived as politically acceptable, but may attract opposition.
Public and stakeholder acceptability Removing lorries away from sensitive areas may give rise to protests from haulage companies and from those on alternative routes.
Technical feasibility There are unlikely to be major problems when re-locating lorries. The policy is likely to include only Road Markings and Signing, although in some cases some infrastructure changes may occur.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

Case Study 1: Windsor Area, UK
Case Study 2: Tokyo, Japan

Case Study 1: Windsor Area, UK

Context

In 1978 the County of Berkshire introduced lorry controls in an area of Eastern Berkshire which includes the town of Windsor. The purpose of the controls was to prevent through heavy goods vehicles which do not have to make a stop from passing through the Windsor area. The controls consisted of restrictions or prohibitions on the use of 50m sections of road by goods vehicles with a weight over 5 tons.

The prohibited sections were located on roads that cross a cordonto the east, south and west of Windsor. The cordon was about 9km from Windsor at the furthest point.

These controls required prohibited vehicles to take alternative routes around the cordon. If vehicles were subject to the controls but required access to the protected areas they had to make detours and enter only by the permitted routes from the north.

Some vehicles were exempt from the controls, including tankers for petrol, fuel oil or milk, breakdown vehicles, agricultural tractors and trailers, animal transporters and ready-mixed concrete vehicles. Berkshire council granted exemption permits for individual vehicles of other types which were based or had business in the Windsor area.

By mid 1978 approximately 70-85% of vehicles affected by the controls were complying with them on the more busy routes. This was achieved despite the fact there was very little police enforcement activity at the time.

Impacts on demand

Demand for road space within the cordon inevitably fell, although overall demand was likely to stay the same as vehicles re-located to other areas. On the roads assessed 1400 homes experienced reductions in lorry nuisance, but an almost equal number experienced increases. This suggests that lorries are changing their routes, therefore increasing demand for road space on the outskirts of Windsor. As congestion was less in Windsor, this may have increased car usage, as users were able to achieve shorter journey times. However, surveys have shown general road traffic decreased by 2.9%.

Impacts on supply

The measures were unlikely to lead to a change in the supply of road space, but rather a change in how it was used.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comments
  The strategy has proved successful in reducing congestion within Windsor and hence a more efficient transport system. However the re-routing of lorries on the outskirts of the cordon has merely acted to re-locate the congestion, although not necessarily on such a scale as previous. The cost to lorry operators has increased by £400,000 per year, which makes them less efficient.
  By reducing congestion, liveability in Windsor has been improved. The streets that have suffered from lorry re-routing may experience less liveable streets, but liveability in the town centre has been improved, with 1200 fewer vehicles travelling through the town centre, although 1390 homes in other areas experienced higher traffic levels.
  Noise and air pollution in Windsor (areas covered by the bans) was reduced. Areas that experience the extra traffic will likely experience increased air and noise pollution, although no evidence is available to support this claim.
  The lorry transport equity has been reduced due to longer travel times and increased fares. Car users have the benefit of less congestion. Social inclusion may occur to some degree as people are more prepared to go out in un-congested areas.
  Accident rates within areas of the cordon were reduced.
  Economic growth will occur in Windsor (no evidence available) This is mainly due easier access for suppliers and consumers. Lorry companies suffered higher operating costs (£400,000) due to increased journey times and distance.
  The scheme has no major cost attached. The cost associated includes sign posting and public awareness campaigns.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Case Study 2: Tokyo, Japan

Context

In Tokyo, there is a zonal ban on access by heavy goods vehicles. The ban is in operation in most of Tokyo’s inner districts of the city. It is effective on one night of the week, between 2200 hours on a Saturday night and 0700 hours on a Sunday morning. The main purpose of this ban is to reduce the disturbance felt by local residents in the Tokyo suburbs. The zone from which the ban is controlled is bounded by the ring road which encircles the city. The radius of this road is between 4 and 6 miles from the city centre.

The ban covers vehicles exceeding 8 metres in length or 5 tonnes capacity. These vehicles are prohibited from moving in the zone for the hours in which the ban is effective. However, movements are permitted across zones on nine metropolitan highways, which are also the main radial routes. Emergency vehicles are granted permits, and special dispensation for urgent consignments is generally granted.

The ban in Tokyo is perceived to be relatively successful, although it has its limitations. There is no plan to extend the ban, in terms of either time covered or area covered, as it is feared it could have a detrimental effect on the local economy. The ban is possible because the majority of fresh food markets do not open on a Sunday.

Impacts on demand

Demand for road space within the area covered by the ban will inevitably fall, as lorries have to change their routes. Movements into the centre of Tokyo will have a dramatic change in the time where the ban is effective. A survey carried out on the first night of the ban showed that at one busy junction, movements fell from 792 a night to 146 per night.

Impacts on supply

Again, the measures are unlikely to lead to a change in the supply of road space, but rather a change in how it is used. The measure is designed to reduce congestion, and as building more roads can actually increase congestion, this seems unlikely.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comments
  A lorry ban reduced the efficiency of the haulage operating companies which use the centre of Tokyo as a thoroughfare. It will also be reduced by the fact that deliveries cannot be made during certain hours, and delivery times may change to when congestion is higher, which will reduce efficiency.
  By removing Heavy Goods vehicles from the centre of Tokyo, residents are able to enjoy more liveable streets as they will be disturbed less.
  Heavy goods vehicles are a major contributor to air and noise pollution. Tokyo has a big problem will air and noise pollution, so the ban improves the situation.
  This improved in areas covered by the ban, as heavy goods vehicle numbers will dramatically reduce.
  Again, safety levels improved in the areas covered by the lorry ban.
  No analysis has been conducted, but the reduction of congestion will have reduced associated costs to the economy.
  The scheme has no major cost attached. The cost associated includes sign posting and public awareness campaigns.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Contribution to objectives and alleviation of key problems

Contribution to objectives
Objective

Windsor

Tokyo

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Contribution to problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems
Problem

Windsor

Tokyo

Congestion
Community impacts
Environmental damage
Poor accessibility
Social or geographic disadvantage
Accidents
Economic growth
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Appropriate contexts

There are no such areas where lorry routes and bans are inappropriate, but they are most suitable for areas where there is congestion relating to high Lorry Activity. They may be introduced to improve safety, cut congestion, and reduce pollution in the local environment. Hence, such areas are likely to be highly dense industrial areas.

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

Adverse side-effects

As Lorries re-route, journey times are likely to rise for such vehicles. As a result, total pollution from Lorries is likely to rise, particularly in surrounding areas not affected by the restrictions. As a result, accident rates are also likely to rise in these areas as the volume of traffic is increased.

Operating costs of haulage companies will inevitably rise, which may be passed on to the consumer, who will experience higher prices as a result.

Coming soon.