TRO Discovery Project

city crop landscape

The TRO Discovery Project was formed when the Department for Transport, BPA, Ordnance Survey, and GeoPlace came together in a partnership. The partners agreed to support each other to deliver three important aims in a joined-up way. These three aims were to:

  1. Engage widely with TRO experts and those who require TROs to consider how well the process works and how it might be modernised and improved
  2. Produce a guide to help local authorities understand how they can work within the limits of current legislation based on best practice
  3. Produce a draft Data Model for TROs, a free open data resource for all.

The partner organisations did this to support the Government’s Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility Grand Challenge which aims to make the UK a world leader in shaping the Future of Mobility. An initial priority of the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge is to provide a regulatory framework to ensure we continue to have one of the most open environments in the world for transport innovation.

The partners also sought to address the recommendations of the North Highland Local Authority Data Discovery which found that:

  • TRO data is difficult and time-consuming to access, clean and process,
  • TRO data is not in a standardised, machine-readable format,
  • TROs lack of centralised point of reference,
  • Private sector organisations are being forced to collect TRO data manually, and
  • The process for amending and implementing a TRO is labour intensive and time-consuming


The Project saw input from thousands of participants across an array of surveys, workshops, and interviews. Participants spanned the whole range from road users to manufacturers of connected and automated vehicles.

The initial survey undertaken by GeoPlace received over 300 responses detailing what respondents needed from the TRO making process and the extent to which they received it now. On the basis of these results, the project partners conducted interviews and workshops with 92 organisations to delve deeper into their views.

We also conducted additional surveys with specific areas of focus. These included surveys looking at the need for TRO data, the way in which TRO data is held in local authorities, and the costs associated with making both permanent and temporary TROs.

The partners were also fortunate to be able to draw on the Transport Focus Transport User Panel. Over 3,000 members of this panel responded to a survey concerning the information they receive about network changes implemented by TROs. 

User Research

 GeoPlace TRO Discovery report

A vision emerged from the user research of a quick and consistent process of applying for TROs which: avoids any unnecessary costs and bureaucracy; allows authorities to manage their own networks more efficiently; sees consultees and others affected being aware in advance of changes and knowing how to contribute to TROs; and with data users having access to high-quality, timely and accurate TRO data for reliable navigation and provision of digital services.

A series of recommendations were made by GeoPlace to the Department for Transport to support this vision. These recommendations covered the themes of data, legislation, Future of Mobility and consistency each of which leads on to next step activities. Read the Summary Report here

TRO Guide

The BPA has produced a Traffic Regulation Orders Guide to offer accessible best practice and demonstrate a path to the future.

TRO Best Practice front page

Available to download.

Draft Data Model

A draft Data Model has been developed within the project. It is a flexible framework which addresses concerns around the consistency of future digitisation and has been subject to initial peer review which has been positive and supportive.  The model is based on internationally recognised standards and an appropriate and relevant data structure and is as open and accessible as possible. It is intended to be compatible with future user requirements and is a free resource for all.

The next stage of development is for the model to be trialled with test data. An important consideration, given that the current practices and processes concerning the creation and making of TROs is well established and has developed from a paper-centric approach over many years, is the challenge for public authorities to deliver the necessary expertise to consume and understand the implication of using the data model from a TRO process, legislative, and IT perspective.

TRO project front page

Available to download.