One Way Streets

A General Guide

"This street is too narrow for two-way traffic - make it one-way to allow traffic to flow easier"

"Too much traffic uses this road in the peak-hours - make it one-way and it will solve the problem"

These are common calls for the introduction of a one-way street. There are many problems associated with one-way streets that must be considered before such a measure can be implemented.

A one-way street requires a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which involves the full statutory consultation procedure.


Many streets suffer from rat-running or high traffic volumes and may benefit from the introduction of this type of control, but it is likely that:

  • Some traffic will simply be diverted onto other less suitable streets
  • The new one-way street may attract more traffic albeit in the remaining direction
  • Residents may have to access their street by an alternative and less convenient route which may involve the use of other neighbouring streets
  • Traffic speeds may increase due to drivers' perception that there is no opposing traffic
  • Without physical traffic calming there may be an increase in accidents and their severity

Some, particularly short sections of one-way street are likely to be contravened by drivers thereby requiring police enforcement.

If a one-way street is proposed, an exemption for pedal cyclists may be considered. Contra-flow bus and cycle lanes may also be considered, where appropriate.


When a one-way street is implemented, signs such as the familiar one-way arrows and the No Entry signs must be erected. Where there are side roads leading to the one-way street, appropriate signs such as the No Right Turn or Turn Left are necessary. All these signs are required to be illuminated. The cost of installing several illuminated signs can be substantial. Appropriate road markings will also be required.

The risk of increasing accidents in one-way street means that this measure is not usually considered without traffic calming. These measures would again increase implementation costs significantly.

This information has been reproduced by kind permission of Bristol City Council


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