A Quick Guide to LTN 1/20

A crossing on the Leeds/Bradford cycle highway

Earlier this year the DfT published a new Local Transport Note, LTN 1/20, which sets out a comprehensive national standard for design of cycle infrastructure. The release coincided with with the release of the policy paper Gear Change which set out a vision for increasing walking and cycling – more on that paper this post.

You can access the full Local Transport Note 1/20 from the DfT here.

What’s it for?

Good implementation of the standards set by the LTN will be a major factor in schemes where funding is coming from central sources. Gear Change explicitly states that ‘to receive Government funding for local highways investment where the main element is not cycling or walking, there will be a presumption that schemes must deliver or improve cycling infrastructure to the standards in the Local Transport Note’.

Key Terms
  • Cycle‘/’cyclists‘ as opposed to ‘bicycle‘/’bicyclist‘ to reflect the diversity of machines and users out there.
  • Cycle track‘ are defined as routes for cycling along the highway physically segregated from both motor traffic and pedestrians.
  • Cycle path‘, ‘greenway‘, ‘towpath‘ are routes away from a highway.
  • Cycle lane‘ is part of the carriageway dedicated to cycle for use by cyclists.

New schemes going through the planning process will also need to pay attention to the recommendations within the LTN, a scheme in Cambridge has already been refused planning approval with failure to provide quality infrastructure as set out in the LTN being listed as a reason for the refusal.

The LTN doesn’t replace the requirement for local authorities such as City of York Council to set their own design standards, but provides a recommended based for them to develop their own standards from. It can be expected that the LTN will therefore feed significantly into the upcoming revision of the city’s Local Transport Plan.



Cycle routes should allow people to reach day to day destinations easily in a way that is easy to navigate, avoiding arrangements that are unintuitive or taking cyclists away from the obvious route.


Cycle routes should be as direct, if not more direct, than the routes available to motor vehicles. Designs which require lots of stop/starting, giving way at side roads, or diversion away from the direct route aren’t considered adequate.


As well as being safe, emphasis is given to the need for infrastructure to feel safe. Long standing excuses for safety such as narrow advisory cycle lanes are pointedly dismissed as unacceptable.


Quality maintained surfaces, proper widths and favourable gradients are all seen as being crucial to comfort, as is reducing conflict between road user types.


Cycle infrastructure should contribute positively to the urban realm, and naturally be attractive to use, whilst the over use of signs and markings should be avoided as they produce clutter – and usually indicate the infrastructure is unintuitive.


The LTN is broken down into chapter covering different aspects of infrastructure design, along with some introductory chapters setting the scene the LTN covers:

  • Principles for including cycling within masterplanning,
  • Basic design principles,
  • Geometric requirements for cycles (minimum widths, turning circles, gradients etc.),
  • Requirements for three key provision types,
  • Junctions and crossings,
  • Cycle parking,
  • Planning for commercial cyclings,
  • Traffic signs and wayfinding,
  • Construction and maintenance of cycle infrastructure.

This Autumn YCC organised a webinar from Phil Jones, of transport consultancy Phil Jones Associates, for CoYC Councillors. As one of the authors of the guidance, Phil was able to cover in greater detail some of the guidance covered in the document. A recording of the webinar is available to watch on the York Cycle Campaign Youtube channel or below.

Assessment Tools

LTN document also contains two assessment tools for scoring schemes against the document’s standards – Cycle Level of Service (CLOS) and Junction Assessment Tool (JAT). The tools were originally developed for the London Cycle Design standards, and have been adapted for use with the new LTN document.

CLOS scores the overall scheme on a number of factors under the themes of cohesion, directness, safety, comfort, and attractiveness. Scores of 0-2 are awarded against twenty five criteria in order to determine an overall percentage mark for the scheme. A percentage score of 70% is expected in order for schemes to be eligible for funding. For some criteria there are critical fails, such as cycle lanes less than 1.5m wide, if a scheme gets any of these they fail altogether.

JAT assesses junctions against generic criteria and junction specific criteria, scoring each specific movement between 0-2. Again a  percentage score of 70% is expected in order for schemes to be eligible for funding, as well as not scoring 0 on any movement.

The Campaign has developed an interactive spreadsheet to make scoring of schemes against CLOS and JAT easier for campaign groups and individual campaigners when commenting on proposals. This can be found on our Resources page.

9 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to LTN 1/20

  1. Hello York Cycle Campaign! Found your page via a search when looking for info on the junction assessment tool and the CLOS tool. You mention here that you planned to make a spreadsheet available for other campaign groups to use – has it been published somewhere? It sounds very handy!

    Cheers, Toby – Bristol Cycling


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