Press release

First glimpse of updated road design manual in 2018

Highways England is set to release an updated set of road design standards in 2018 which will be used across the United Kingdom.

aerial view of road

Renowned experts at the company responsible for the country’s motorways and major A roads are updating the “Design Manual for Roads and Bridges” (DMRB) to make it easier for designers to understand and use.

The DMRB is a cornerstone of the delivery and management of motorway and all-purpose trunk roads across the UK and is a respected document used across the globe.

The modified standards are being published in phases, with the first set being released in 2018 and the full update complete by the end of March 2020.

The re-drafting will be completed using a revolutionary online authoring tool, signalling an important move to digital technology and therefore give the potential for future updates to be more straightforward.

Highways England Chief Highway Engineer, Mike Wilson said:

Highways England is the recognised authority for road design, building and maintenance, and our standards are used across the globe.

This is an exciting time for the highways sector and as we deliver both the government’s £15 billion road investment programme and look ahead to 2020 and beyond, we are delighted to be able to start releasing the first updates to this crucially important document.

We are grateful to our partners in the industry who have supported this significant review which will ensure our roads are designed, built and maintained to the very highest, safest standards.

In April 2015 Highways England began working on a project to review and update the complete suite of over 350 documents and associated Interim Advice Notes (IANs) that make up the manual. This is a specific requirement of the Protocol attached to the Highways England Licence as part of the Government’s Road Investment Strategy.

These changes include making it easier to produce and maintain the manual. Requirements and advice will be easier to distinguish, which will result in fewer departures from the standards required for new schemes and the time/cost associated with these.

Over the years, the existing manual has become difficult to use due to the many revisions and variations in language and style. Following a consultation with key stakeholders and users of the manual, a number of changes have been implemented including a new set of drafting rules that follow best practice from national and international standardisation organisations.

The governance processes are also being updated to streamline the development process of the standards and make it more efficient.

To support this extremely ambitious and demanding programme, Highways England is supported by several leading UK consultants, providing world class expertise, to ensure that the manual is fit for the future. Collaboration among suppliers and leaner ways of working are key to successfully delivering the updates.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 8 December 2017