Organising an event

Guidance for event organisers: traffic, transport and signage

Guidance for event organisers for managing traffic, transport and signage for their public event.

Transport plan

There must be adequate arrangements for dealing with traffic and vehicle access to the site if appropriate and the segregation of vehicles from pedestrian traffic.

At small events this may involve merely some stewards with high visibility jackets directing traffic to a defined parking area. For larger events police assistance will be required to direct traffic on main roads together with road signage for the event.

The following should be considered when making your transport plan:
  • traffic permitted on the site
  • times
  • road closures
  • site closures to traffic
  • emergency access
  • parking
  • pedestrian access
  • public transport 

If you are unsure of what is required or need further advice please contact our Environment team.

Impact of events on the public highway

Any event will have an impact on the public highway whether it is conducted on the highway or on private land. The phrase 'public highway' includes the carriageway, the footway and the verge.

You must ensure that event traffic is safely managed, including road traffic and pedestrians. Arrangements should be initially discussed with the police, although sometimes it is necessary to obtain road closures and/or temporary traffic regulation orders to minimise congestion, in which case it is necessary to contact the highway authority.

The police or highway authority will require detailed plans of the event, with times of access and exit in order to respond constructively. At least 12 weeks notice is required if any traffic regulation order is necessary and you will be required to provide all necessary signage at your cost.

If your event is taking place on the highway, please see event safety checklist – highways for more information.

Provision of temporary traffic signs

You are required to provide temporary to guide traffic to your event if it is expected to attract a considerable volume of traffic. It is an offence under the Highways Act 1980 (Section 132) for any person to place any sign anywhere within the highway without the prior consent of the Highways Agency.

You must send your signing proposals to the Highways Agency 12 weeks prior to the event so approval can be granted. Proposals should include information about the nature of the event, the expected number of visitors, the provisions for parking and proposed locations of signs. Other requirements include:

  • signs must be black on white, black on yellow or white on blue
  • they may only be displayed for the period of an event and not longer than six months on a trunk road or principal road without special permission
  • signs should not normally be up more than 48 hours before an event or more than 48 hours after it has ended
  • signs must comply with the provisions of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions and must give clear information about the route to be followed
  • the badge of the road user organisation putting the sign up may be included on the sign, however commercial names of sponsors are not allowed
  • dates and times of the event should not be included on the signs (unless approval has been granted by the Highways Agency)
  • signing for up to five miles to or from the nearest A or B road should usually be adequate, however more extensive signing may be approved for larger events
  • temporary signs must only be put up by persons suitably qualified under the New Roads and Street Works Act to work within the Highway and who are suitably insured against third party risks up to a claim value of £5 million
  • you are recommended to utilise the services of specialist sign erection companies

(The Highways Agency has final say of the signing appropriate for any event and may remove or re-site any signs which have not been approved - this would be at the cost of the body which erected them)

On-site signs provided to control the movement of vehicles, identified via the risk assessment, need to conform to the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984.

For more guidance and approval, please contact our Highways team.

Information and signs

You should provide sufficient signage which should be securely displayed around the event venue. This should include lost/found children, lost/found property, toilets, first aid posts and exits.

Consideration should be given to multi-lingual notices if appropriate.

Any temporary signs on the highway will need to be approved by the highways authority.