Each year, the council’s Highway Improvements Team designs and delivers highway schemes funded by the Local Transport Plan.

Improvements range from small junction upgrades to new road construction as well as cycling and walking routes, town and village speed management schemes and public transport infrastructure.

Schemes are identified by Dorset Council highway officers or through local neighbourhood, parish or town plans, but can also include:

  • traffic engineering schemes to address traffic issues and road traffic collision cluster sites which need more complex design work
  • schemes that meet wider council corporate priorities
  • traffic signal schemes identified by network traffic control officers
  • externally funded or developer led schemes, including those funded by Section 106 contributions and government funded, specific grant-led priorities
  • requests by residents when supported by their parish or town council

Schemes can take several years to progress from feasibility into design and construction. More complicated schemes, where traffic regulation orders are needed, will take longer to progress through to the construction phase due to the legal processes required.

Scheme identification

When a scheme has been identified, a pre-feasibility study will be carried out to assess the necessity for a scheme. The outcomes will be discussed with stakeholders to agree a way forward.

If highway works are necessary, the scheme will await budget allocation for further design and construction work.

Prioritisation of schemes is set out in the Local Transport Plan (LTP), this primarily focuses on delivering schemes for:

  • economic growth
  • a reduction in carbon emissions
  • equality of opportunity
  • improved safety
  • security and health
  • improved quality of life for residents


When a scheme has been allocated funding, a brief will be developed to clearly outline the specific issue needing to be addressed and a feasibility study will be carried out for preliminary design work.

Following this, statutory consultees – councillors, local town or parish council, emergency services and other council service departments as necessary – will be invited to comment on initial design proposals.

In some cases, where it is a larger scheme or there are multiple design solutions, the improvements team will engage with residents and businesses to seek their views, and then progress the option preferred by the local community.

After all necessary consultation, detailed design work starts.

Elected councillors, local businesses and other stakeholders will be consulted on the timing of the work to ensure it is carried out at a time that offers the least disruption.

Read the highway improvements schemes policy and Rural Roads Protocol for more information about highway improvements.