Planning requirements

In addition other large scale developments on which TfL is consulted should have a full travel plan. TfL has set development scale thresholds above which a full travel plan should be prepared. This requirement applies to both new developments and extensions of existing sites.

Full travel plan

Applications for developments at or above the strategic-level thresholds (shown in the table below) must by default submit an ATTrBuTE-compliant full travel plan which should include the content set out in travel plan contents.

Travel plan statement

Smaller developments that fall below the strategic-level full travel plan threshold but which typically employ 20 or more staff, or comprise over 50 residential units, should submit a travel plan statement.

It may not be appropriate to set specific targets within these plans. However, a set of positive measures promoting sustainable transport should be included, together with an action plan for their implementation. The level of information required should be agreed with the local council's planning officer at the earliest opportunity. 

Development scale guidelines for travel plans

 Travel plan statementFull travel plan
A1 (Food/Non-Food Retail)More than 20 staff but less than 1,000sqmEqual or more than 1,000sqm
A1 (Garden centres)More than 20 staff but less than 2,500sqmEqual or more than 2,500sqm
A2 (Financial Services)More than 20 staff but less than 1,000sqmEqual or more than 1,000sqm
A3/A4/A5 (Food/Drink)More than 20 staff but less than 750sqmEqual or more than 750sqm
B1 (Business)More than 20 staff but less than 2,500sqmEqual or more than 2,500sqm
B2 (Industrial)More than 20 staff but less than 2,500sqmEqual or more than 2,500sqm
B8 (Warehouse and Distribution)More than 20 staff but less than 5,000sqmEqual or more than 5,000sqm
C1 (Hotels)More than 20 staff but less than 100 bedsEqual or more than 100 beds
C3 (Residential)Between 50 and 80 unitsEqual or more than 80 units
D1 (Hospitals/Health Centres)*Between 20 and 50 staffEqual or more than 50 staff
D1 (Schools and Nurseries)**All school developments to have a travel plan
D1 (Higher and Further Education)More than 20 staff but less than 2,500sqmEqual or more than 2,500sqm
D1 (Museum)More than 20 staff but less than 100,000 visitors annually
Equal or more than 100,000 visitors annually
D1 (Places of Worship)More than 20 staff but less than 200 members/regular attendeesEqual or more than 200 members/regular attendees
D2 (Assembly and Leisure)More than 20 staff but less than 1,000sqmEqual or more than 1,000sqm
D2 (Stadia)More than 20 staff but less than 1,500 seatsEqual or more than 1,500 seats
Sui Generis usesTo be determined on scheme by scheme basis.
All student accommodation over 100 beds should have a Full Travel Plan.

*It is mandatory for NHS trusts to have travel plans. For more information please visit the NHS's Sustainable Development Unit website.

**For information on creating a school travel plan, visit www.staccreditation.org.uk. For details on how to apply online for the School Travel plan Accreditation (STARS) programme, contact your council's school travel representative, road safety officer or travel awareness officer.

Councils may adopt their own travel plan requirements for developments that are below the TfL thresholds, and where these are lower than those in the table above, TfL supports their use.

Travel plans may also be required in specific circumstances for developments below the thresholds shown. For example:

  • Where the proposed development has the potential for significant traffic impact which requires mitigation, or has accessibility issues to be addressed. This may apply particularly to mixed-use developments where each individual land use may not reach these thresholds but in combination will have a significant impact, or to developments that may generate a lot of visitor trips
  • For phased developments where the initial phasing may not reach the specified threshold but future phases will reach/exceed the threshold
  • For applications for extensions or other proposals, where the proposal itself does not reach the threshold but where the combined existing and proposed development meets or exceeds the threshold

Any travel plan developed under these circumstances should relate to the whole site. It is essential that travel plan requirements for any development are agreed with the local planning authority at the scoping/pre-application stage.

Interim travel plans

Where the type of occupier (resident, employee etc) is known at pre-application stage, the travel plan should include specific objectives, targets and measures as well as detail about predicted travel behaviour and mode share.

However, if during the planning phase a developer is unsure of the ultimate occupier of the development and it is agreed by all parties (eg the local planning authority and developer) that this will have a significant effect on the travel plan's targets and timings, a travel plan should still be submitted but some detail may be considered 'interim'.

The information will remain interim until such time as the detail is known, or one month after the baseline survey is completed following occupation, whichever is sooner and in agreement with the local planning authority.

Travel plans containing interim information must still include the following information, recognising that this may be changed by agreement with the local authority at a later stage:

  • Baseline travel patterns
  • Targets for mode share
  • Measures to be implemented. It will be possible to identify a number of measures which will need to be incorporated into the design of the development regardless of the end occupier, but a limited number of measures that are dependent on delivery by the occupier will remain interim, for example, the flexible working policies of a particular organisation can be clarified once the occupier is known
  • Timings, such as construction completion, phasing and/or occupation that may delay implementation of packages
  • A contact for the site, for the local planning authority to liaise with until such time as the final occupier is in place

Framework travel plans

Mixed use developments comprising of one or more elements that exceed the thresholds, or outline planning permission for which specific elements are not yet established, will require a framework travel plan (sometimes referred to as a site-wide or umbrella travel plan). These are generally appropriate for phased developments.

Framework travel plans should include:

  • A commitment to individual travel plan development by the occupiers of the site where they relate to elements of the scheme that exceed the thresholds
  • As occupiers are confirmed, they will need to submit a full travel plan or travel plan statement, as appropriate for their organisation, which is in accordance with the framework travel plan for that site, prior to their occupation. This requirement should be included within the terms of the lease, or before ownership is transferred if the site is sold
  • Baseline travel patterns derived from TRICS and/or agreed alternative
  • Measures to be delivered site-wide and responsibilities for their delivery and funding
  • Future actions for travel plan development and refinement
  • Preliminary targets based on associated transport assessment predictions, with appropriate timescales

To summarise, a travel plan must be prepared when:

  • At least one element of the proposed development equals or exceeds the threshold specified in the table above and the end user is known - separate travel plans should also be prepared for each land use above the threshold
  • An individual occupier covered by a framework travel plan exceeds one of these thresholds - separate travel plans should be prepared for each element of the scheme above the specified threshold

Travel plans may also be required in specific circumstances for developments below the thresholds shown. For example:

  • Where the proposed development has the potential for significant traffic impact which requires mitigation, or has accessibility issues to be addressed. This may apply particularly to mixed-use developments where each individual land use may not reach these thresholds but in combination will have a significant impact, or to developments that may generate a lot of visitor trips
  • For phased developments where the initial phasing may not reach the specified threshold but future phases will reach/exceed the threshold
  • For applications for extensions or other proposals, where the proposal itself does not reach the threshold but where the combined existing and proposed development meets or exceeds the threshold

Any travel plan developed under these circumstances should relate to the whole site. It is essential that travel plan requirements for any development are agreed with the local planning authority at the scoping/pre-application stage.

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