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 modal filters to reduce 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.

    Following further engagement with key stakeholders, and considering location-specific comments received during the Phase 2 Consultation, a revised proposal for a trial modal filter scheme was developed. This was presented and approved at the 20 June 2023 meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee.

  • 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. This is similar to the changes introduced on Wonford Road, Exeter.

    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.
  • Enforcement activities

    How will the bus gate restrictions be enforced?

    Devon County Council and Devon & Cornwall Police are working together closely to respond to drivers ignoring the bus gate restrictions. Drivers who ignore the restrictions are placing other road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists at increased risk in addition to undermining the data gathering process linked to the trial.

    Devon County Council have applied to the Department for Transport for Moving Traffic Enforcement Powers for bus gate contraventions and anticipate a response very soon. In the interim, Devon & Cornwall Police will conduct random and unpredictable enforcement and engagement activity, including receiving online reports from the public where clear evidence exists of violations. Individuals are strongly advised not to provoke conflict by filming over an extended period.

  • 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).

    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.

    Approval to trial a modal filter scheme for the Heavitree and Whipton area was granted at the June 2023 HATOC meeting. The scheme is planned was implemented from August 2023, for up to 18 months. For further details, please see the dedicated scheme website.

    How will the trial traffic filter scheme be implemented?

    The trial will be implemented on a temporary basis, for up to 18 months from August 2023. During this time, residents and other stakeholders can share their experiences of the temporary measures, which would then need to be considered by Devon County Council.

    Formal representations about the Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) can be made during the first 6 months of the trial period. If an ETRO is modified during the trial period, the 6-month period for making formal representations restarts.

    Within 18 months, a decision would need to be made on whether to make the changes permanent or not. This decision would be based on formal representations about the ETROs, as well as feedback from the wider community, stakeholder engagement and data from pedestrian, cycle and traffic counts.