‘Devolution’ of transport powers to Local Government: Impacts of the 2004 Traffic Management Act in England

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - impacts, operations - traffic, organisation - management, policy - congestion, technology - intelligent transport systems


devolution, traffic management, congestion, intelligent transport systems


The concept of ‘Devolution’—the transfer of powers away from the Central Government to more local bodies of Government, has been used across many different areas of policy and by many different national governments. This paper examines the devolution of transport powers to the existing Local Traffic Authorities in England via the 2004 Traffic Management Act. The paper first presents a summary of how several different nations have undertaken this process of devolving transport powers and responsibilities to either new or existing bodies. It then presents research from an electronic survey concerning how English Local Traffic Aut`horities are choosing to use some of the new powers available to them and their opinion on complementary areas of transport policy. Research is also presented from structured telephone interviews, concerning how individual Local Authorities perceive the efficacy and equity of the new legislation. Overall, the results show that only some of these new powers are likely to be used by English Local Authorities, with limited variation in how different types of LTA are choosing to implement these new powers. The structured telephone interviews provided some evidence that rural Authorities in particular are more dissatisfied with the legislation and consider some of the measures unhelpful. The results provide some insights on the formulation of devolved policy applicable to existing Local Government bodies and the varying benefits that can be perceived to apply to different types of Local Authority. Conclusions are drawn on some of the practical difficulties arising from the English experience, and lessons of relevance are drawn for other nations considering a similar devolution of transport powers.


Permission to publish abstract given by Elsevier. Copyright remains with Elsevier.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X