Statement on Portable Traffic Signal Guidance

The Department for Transport (DfT) publication, “An introduction to the use of portable vehicular signals” (The ‘pink’ book) has now been formally withdrawn. 

The current policy position of the UK Government is that there is no longer a need for central government guidance on portable signal operation and it has therefore opted to retire the document and the associated traffic advisory leaflets 2/11 and 3/11. The DfT has provided a link to the industry developed ARTSM ‘Guidance on the Use of Portable Traffic Signals’ along with the formal withdrawal notice. The DfT recognises this publication as providing useful information and guidance on the topic the withdrawn guidance note covered. It should be noted that while the ARTSM guidance has this support, this does not confer the status of UK Government guidance, or creates any statutory basis, and remains purely helpful advice. 

In Scotland, road works guidance is applicable, specifically if it must be complied with,  if it meets one of three criteria. Guidance must either have a legal basis, be directly approved by Scottish Ministers for a specific purpose or be approved as ‘Good Practice’ by the Scottish Road Works Commissioner under Section 17(4)(a) & (b) of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005. This applies regardless of the authoring body of the work. The Commissioner has issued a formal direction which describes the guidance which he considers to be good practice in terms of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005. As the ‘pink book’ has never been published on the Commissioner’s website nor explicitly listed in his formal direction, neither the retired DfT publication or the recent ARTSM publication have had any formal status in Scotland. It is therefore for individual organisations to determine if they wish to follow either document, on a voluntary basis.

Kevin Hamilton, Scottish Road Works Commissioner

Kat Quane, Head of Road Works Policy, Transport Scotland