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Highfield Active Travel Zone (ATZ) FAQs


An ATZ is a residential area, bordered by main roads (the places where buses, lorries, non-local traffic should be), where “through” motor vehicle traffic is discouraged or removed. Strategic road closures (like bollards or planters) prevent through traffic and rat running. Every street is still accessible by vehicles.

SCHEME BACKGROUND: Why does Southampton need Active Travel Zones?

Streets in many residential neighbourhoods in Southampton are treated as shortcuts by drivers avoiding main roads. This traffic often dominates, as vehicles take priority over all other road users and residents, and drivers using it as a shortcut may be more likely to speed. In some streets, traffic data and residents report speed and volumes are at unacceptably dangerous levels, making active travel scary, streets noisy and unattractive and making it hard for neighbours and children to socialise. 

SCHEME BACKGROUND: Where is the funding coming from?

This funding comes from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund. In March 2020, Southampton City Council, in partnership with Hampshire County Council, was awarded £57M to deliver an ambitious package of transport improvements. The full bid is available here.


SCHEME BACKGROUND: How was Highfield chosen? Why does Highfield need an Active Travel Zone?

Due to the proposed introduction of a Bus Gate on Portswood Road, traffic in Highfield is likely to increase. We want to deter drivers from using Highfield as a cut-through and instead encourage through traffic to use Thomas Lewis Way.

SCHEME BACKGROUND: How can I find out more about the St Denys Active Travel Zone?

Information about the St Denys Active Travel Zone and the collaboration process with residents of the neighbourhood can be found via this page.

SCHEME DEVELOPMENT: What consultation will there be with residents?

The public consultation questionnaire for the Portswood corridor - including Highfield ATZ - is available online until Friday 11 November 2022. In addition to this, two public consultation events were held on Tuesday 4 October at October Books in Portswood. Several further consultation events are being planned for November including an evening hosted by Highfield Residents’ Association.

Once we have reviewed and analysed all feedback from the consultation questionnaire and events, we will look to hold a co-design workshop with Highfield residents in Winter 2022 to develop plans for the ATZ.

SCHEME DEVELOPMENT: What is a co-design event?

A co-design event/workshop allows residents to work with engineers and council staff to develop ideas and design solutions to address their concerns. Our engineers will then review the most popular and most feasible suggestions and take these forward to the detailed design stage. 

SCHEME DEVELOPMENT: What consideration has there been about people living with a disability or additional mobility needs?

An Equality and Safety Impact report will be completed for the proposals and the varying potential impact on different disability groups considered. Evidence shows that measures to promote walking and cycling benefit people with mobility needs. Specific measures will make it easier to walk, use modified bicycles / tricycles, and mobility scooters to travel around the area. In addition, no access to properties will be prevented if people choose to drive – the scheme will only prevent cars from using residential streets as a through route.

MODAL FILTERS: What is a modal filter?

Modal filters are a feature used to limit through journeys by motor-traffic. These generally take the form of bollards or planters. People travelling on foot or by bike are able to travel through modal filters.

MODAL FILTERS: Why have we initially suggested modal filters?

Modal filters are a way to completely prevent the Brookvale Road / Abbotts Way / Russell Place area being used as a cut-through by drivers. Vehicle access will be retained to all properties, but drivers may need to use a different route.

There are other options to create a Highfield Active Travel Zone, such as introducing speed humps and improved pedestrian crossings. These would slow traffic speeds, improve the pedestrian environment and deter – but not block – drivers from using these streets as a through route.

Our plans are at concept stage at the moment. The use of any modal filters or other interventions will be decided with resident feedback from the consultation questionnaire, events and co-design workshop.

CONCERNS: I am concerned about access for delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles or larger vehicles.

The Southampton City Council Waste Services team will be fully consulted on the proposals to ensure they are happy that there will be ample space for their vehicles to access the area. The scheme is designed to maintain access to all properties by private, commercial and emergency vehicles but prevent cars from using residential streets as a through route. 

As part of the engineering process, engineers and transport planners review the designs to ensure the emergency services can still access all the properties.