Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need Red Routes in the West Midlands?
Currently, it is estimated that traffic congestion costs the West Midlands £2.2bn per year in lost productivity.
With the likelihood that journey times will vary on a daily basis and the number of road journeys predicted to increase year on year doing anything about traffic congestion is not an option.
One of the key proposals put forward by the West Midlands Local Transport Plan to reduce the traffic congestion problem is a comprehensive network of Red Routes. These will be designed to keep traffic operating efficiently on our most important roads through better management of parking and loading.
The West Midlands Red Route network, the first network of its kind outside London, covering some 260 miles of road will provide a proven and workable method to tackle traffic congestion and create a better and safer environment for all.
What is a Red Route?
Red Routes are a new way of making our most important roads work better for everyone the people who travel on them, the businesses based along the route and the residents who live nearby. They work mainly by putting a stop to delays caused by inconsiderate and illegal parking, which reduces traffic congestion and makes journey times more reliable.
Red Routes are most commonly identified by single or double red lines which indicate where and when stopping is not permitted together with boxes painted on the road to indicate where vehicles may legally park and load.
Where and when will they be introduced?
Red Routes are already up and running in the West Midlands.
The first Red Route to be implemented was on the A34 in Solihull and it became fully operational in September 2003. Not only was this the first Red Route to be implemented outside London but it also won a National Transportation award in 2005.
Presently, the plan is to introduce a 260 mile Red Routes network across the West Midlands broken down into various phases.
The first phase of the work will see schemes implemented in Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Development work has started on the second phase and it is anticipated that this will involve all the West Midland Districts.
Subject to approved funding the second phase of the work could commence in 2008/2009.
What are the benefits for individual road users?
We know from the results of the Red Route scheme in Solihull and those in London that cracking down on inconsiderate and illegal parking will allow our roads to operate more efficiently by improving vehicle flows and reducing traffic congestion.
This leads is to reduced journey times and improved journey time reliability. Red Routes are also a proven way of reducing road traffic accidents and making our roads safer for everyone.
What are the benefits for those areas involved in the schemes?
As there is less queuing traffic on the road, there are environmental benefits such as reduced traffic noise and fumes, creating a more pleasant experience for pedestrians and cyclists.
What are the benefits for businesses?
In an environment where lost time can mean lost earnings, businesses benefit from improved, more reliable journey times, both in terms of deliveries and improved access to the hub of the nations motorway network.
Will Red Routes solve all of the congestion problems in the West Midlands?
The Red Routes network is not a stand-alone project but is one of a number of measures designed to alleviate traffic congestion in the West Midlands.
However, the schemes would not be put in place if they did not have a considerable impact on improving journey times and enhancing the West Midlands region as a whole.
Do different rules apply for different users? Eg for businesses?
The rules apply to all users of the public highway and no provisions are made for specific uses.
However, your local council may consider it appropriate to issue a temporary dispensation to allow certain activities to occur, e.g. delivery of a heavy item of furniture or equipment.
How will I know when I am entering a Red Routes area?
Red lines on the road tell drivers where they can and cannot stop or load, while signs with red borders at the side of the road and at all side road entry points indicate restrictions which apply and where you can legally stop. However, stopping to load or unload is permitted unless there are restrictions in place indicated by signs. Please follow the link below for more information.
How are red lines different from yellow lines?
In simple terms, yellow lines indicate where waiting restrictions apply.
Double yellow lines mean no waiting at any time whereas a single yellow line means no waiting between certain times of the day as indicated on nearby signs.
Red Route controls will indicate where stopping is either prohibited or restricted and where you can park and unload. Double red lines mean no stopping at any time, whereas a single red line means no stopping between certain times of the day as indicated on nearby signs. In addition, marked boxes on the road will indicate areas where you may legally park and load / unload.
Are there any exceptions to the no stopping rule?
There are exemptions, which allow stopping to take place, mainly for safety purposes for example:
- To prevent an accident occurring;
- If your vehicle has broken down;
- When directed to do so by a Police Officer; and
- To allow emergency vehicles to pass.
How are Red Routes enforced and by who? Are there fines?
Red Routes may be currently enforced by police officers, traffic wardens and parking attendants as appropriate. People found to be breaking the restrictions will receive a fixed penalty fine.
How do I know where I can park and load / unload?
Red Routes provide specific measures for deliveries, to make unloading more convenient. These include:
- Providing dedicated loading bays along the route. These are clearly signed to let delivery drivers know where and when unloading is allowed; and
- Actively protecting loading bays: if other drivers park illegally within them they will be fined.
Will there be additional short term parking provision? Where can people park/drop off conveniently?
Better signage of car parks will encourage people to use existing parking provision off the main Red Route. In some cases, consideration will be given to providing extra on street parking where feasible and justified. Side roads joining a Red Route will be modified to provide safer, better parking. This will also allow pedestrians to cross more safely and enable vehicles to manoeuvre onto the main road more easily.
What about unloading for small local shops? What effect will this have on businesses?
We have held consultations with local businesses to make sure Red Routes wont have any impact on their trade and will continue to do so for future schemes. In the London schemes, Red Routes have had no adverse effect on retail and business performance as they have made it easier for people to park legally.
As part of the Red Routes scheme, approved stopping and loading areas will be improved and well signed. Loading bays for delivery drivers will be clearly marked and protected from abuse.
Are there any benefits for people with special needs?
Yes. Red route measures will offer some key benefits for people with special needs:
- Lower and standardised kerb heights at crossing places;
- Dedicated parking near shops and outside homes;
- Action to prevent abuse of dedicated parking; and
- Reduction in inconsiderate verge and footway parking.
Where can I get more information?
If your query relates to a specific location or road then please use the links to your council on the contacts page . If it concerns a general issue about Red Routes then please contact the Programme Manager for Red Routes.