Local Transport Policy

Stagecoach bus

Accessibility Planning

The Government wants to improve access to opportunities, and to enable individuals and communities to realise their potential. Achieving these aims means ensuring that everyone can get to work, schools, healthcare, food shops and other key services. Accessibility planning guidance sets out how the accessibility problems faced by people from disadvantaged groups and areas can be identified and addressed through Local Transport Plans and local authorities’ other functions, and through working with local partners.

Buses and Taxis

DfT’s Buses and Taxis Division is responsible for policy development and delivery on all issues relating to these key local transport modes. The Division leads on formulating and implementing options for improving local bus services and promoting public transport as a viable, safe and efficient alternative to the car.

Concessionary Travel

The Department’s Concessionary Travel Division administers the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme, which was introduced in April 2008. It has also developed a Smart and Integrated Ticketing Strategy, aimed at making ticketing arrangements better for passengers and encouraging modal shift.


The Government is committed to increasing levels of cycling given its benefits for tackling congestion, reducing local air pollution and improving health. The DfT’s Cycling pages provide details of what the Department is doing to encourage cycling as well as details of specific strategies and initiatives, including the Cycle to Work Guarantee and Bikeability.


The Department works with the freight logistics industry to encourage the efficient, resilient, environmentally friendly and safe movement of goods. The DfT has published guidance for local authorities on delivery restrictions, freight planning issues and the establishment of Freight Quality Partnerships.


Effective highway maintenance is vital for the safe and convenient movement of people and goods and contributes to the wider objectives of integrated transport and asset management, as well as corporate policy goals. The DfT provides capital funding to local authorities for structural local road maintenance and compiles statistics on the condition of public roads, footways, kerbs and verges in England.

Major Schemes

The DfT’s Major Scheme funding system provides local transport authorities with the necessary capital funding to take forward worthwhile highway and public transport schemes that support national and local objectives but which would otherwise be unaffordable from Local Transport Plan capital funding allocations. DfT has an obligation to rigorously scrutinise Major Scheme proposals to ensure that they provide value for money for the taxpayer. The Department has published guidance for local authorities which describes the process for applying for Major Schemes funding and defines the required contents of the Major Scheme Business Case that will accompany the funding application.


The Government’s Motorcycling Strategy was published in February 2005. The Strategy was developed with the full involvement of motorcycling groups representing the views of industry and users through the Advisory Group on Motorcycling. The primary objective of the Strategy is to promote motorcycling within a safe and sustainable transport framework. Local authorities have a key role in implementing the Strategy and should take account of the role of motorcycling in transport policy development and delivery.  A revised and updated action plan was published in June 2008.


The DfT’s Rail Group works in partnership with the industry to secure delivery of improved safety, operational and financial performance; provide appropriate rail passenger services at an acceptable price; develop and deliver a robust, affordable and sustainable strategy for the development of the railway that supports wider transport objectives; and ensure the cost-effective and timely delivery of major rail projects. The Rail Group helps regional and local authorities and other stakeholders to understand the Department’s rail policies and strategies and to develop their own proposals to ensure that rail meets local transport needs.

Road Safety

The Department’s Road Safety pages provide information on the Government’s Road Safety Strategy, as well as details of Government policies and initiatives and advice for all road users.

Links to specific road safety guidance and good practice resources designed to assist the development and implementation of local road safety strategies can be found within the Policies and Good Practice Handbook:

The Road Safety Delivery Board has been established to improve the delivery of the road casualty reduction objective, by identifying and sharing good practice, removing the obstacles to effective delivery, and fostering better partnership working between agencies. The Board consists of senior members of the agencies responsible for delivering road safety on the ground, including the County Surveyors’ Society, the Highways Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers. The minutes of the Board’s meetings can be accessed via the following link:

Social Inclusion and Transport Accessibility

The DfT is committed to improving transport provision for disabled people and has published extensive information and guidance on what the Government is doing, in partnership with local authorities and operators, to make public transport more accessible.

One of the Department’s five national transport goals is to promote greater equality of opportunity for all citizens. The Government aims to enhance social inclusion and the regeneration of deprived and remote areas by enabling disadvantaged groups to access key services. DfT’s Social Inclusion pages include research, information and guidance to local authorities and transport operators on understanding and meeting the needs of these groups, including children and young people, older people and minority, ethnic and faith communities.

Sustainable Travel

The Department has published extensive guidance to local authorities on the planning, implementation and promotion of initiatives aimed at reducing congestion and carbon emissions, improving the quality of local environments and encouraging healthier and safer lifestyles.

Traffic Management

Roads allow goods to be transported around the country and ensure people can get to work, school and the shops, as well as visit friends and family. They are essential to the economic prosperity of the country and to the everyday lives of the millions of people who use them. Under the Traffic Management Act 2004, local highway authorities have a statutory duty to manage their road network to secure the expeditious movement of traffic.