Frequently asked questions

  • Project background

    What are the objectives of the Exeter Streets project?

    The key objectives of the project include:

    • Creating a healthier street environment, through engagement with local residents and community groups
    • Making walking and cycling safer, more convenient and more enjoyable
    • Reducing the perceived negative effects of traffic on the area
    • Contributing to the Exeter Transport Strategy target for 50% of journeys within Exeter to be made by foot or cycle by 2030.

    How has the project developed?

    The project has been developed through two phases of consultation with the Heavitree and Whipton community.

    The Phase 1 Consultation (November/December 2020) invited respondents to highlight issues affecting their local streets, and locations of particular concern. Responses indicated that the impacts of traffic and the lack of priority for pedestrians and cyclists were primary concerns, particularly on Ladysmith Road, Hamlin Lane, Sweetbrier Lane and Thornpark Rise.

    Specific measures to address these issues were presented at the Phase 2 Consultation (September/October 2021), including point closures of roads to vehicular traffic, traffic humps and pedestrian crossing facilities. Of the options for reducing traffic, Option 4, which involved closing all routes to through traffic, was most popular among consultation respondents.

  • Modal filters

    Why did you propose using modal filters, rather than cycle lanes or other forms of infrastructure?

    Modal filters significantly reduce traffic volumes by changing vehicle access, which can reduce through traffic and create quiet streets suitable for most pedestrians and cyclists.

    Modal filters are quick to implement and can easily be done as temporary measures. This allows changes to be trialled and adapted, allowing feedback from residents and the impacts to be assessed before decisions are made regarding permanent changes.

    There is insufficient space on most roads in Heavitree and Whipton to introduce segregated cycle provision.

    What is the difference between a bus gate and a physical modal filter?

    A physical modal filter creates a physical barrier to all vehicular traffic, but allows pedestrians and cyclists to pass, whereas bus gates also allow the passage of buses.

    Where possible, the modal filter locations have been situated away from bus routes, enabling physical modal filters to be constructed that restrict all vehicular traffic. This is similar to the changes introduced on Homefield Road and Chard Road, Exeter.

    However, where bus access will be required, bus gates are installed, using carriageway narrowing and signage indicating ‘No entry (except cycles and buses)’. This is similar to the changes introduced on Wonford Road, Exeter. Failure to comply with these restrictions is an offence, which can be enforced by the police, and members of the public can also submit footage of offences to the police via Operation Snap.

    What impacts do modal filter schemes typically have on traffic levels?

    Monitoring of similar schemes elsewhere in the UK has typically shown modal filter schemes to significantly reduce traffic levels on residential roads, and reduce total traffic levels in a given area, even considering traffic displacement onto boundary roads. For example, an evaluation of a range of schemes recently implemented in London found the following:

    • Traffic on residential roads reduced by an average of 45%
    • Traffic on boundary/peripheral roads increased by an average of 5%
    • Traffic on all roads reduced by an average of 9%

    Schemes have also typically resulted in significant increases in walking and cycling. However, the extent of any changes in a given area will depend on various factors, including:

    • The area’s demographics, including levels of car ownership;
    • The extent to which the scheme eliminates through routes in an area;
    • The provision of complementary measures, such as guided walks/cycle rides.
  • Community involvement

    How can I contact the Exeter Streets team for Heavitree and Whipton?

    For any queries regarding the Exeter Streets programme, please email

  • Next steps

    What are the next steps for the Exeter Streets project?

    The results of the Phase 2 Consultation were discussed at the July 2022 meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC). A decision on implementing a trial traffic filter scheme will be made at a future HATOC meeting.

    Approval to construct the proposals for the Whipton Lane/Sweetbrier Lane roundabout was granted at the July 2022 HATOC meeting. The scheme was subsequently constructed in November/December 2022.

    How would a potential traffic filter scheme be implemented?

    If it is decided to proceed with a traffic filter scheme, it would be trialled using Experimental Traffic Orders. These are legal agreements which implement changes to traffic regulations, and allow arrangements to be modified before making a decision on whether to make the arrangements permanent. The experimental traffic orders would last up to 18 months, but it is intended that any scheme would be reviewed after approximately 6 months to assess its impacts.