Design Manual for Roads and Bridges

Design Manual for Roads and Bridges

The Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) is a series of 15 volumes that provide official standards, advice notes and other documents relating to the design, assessment and operation of trunk roads, including motorways in the United Kingdom, and, with some amendments, the Republic of Ireland [1].

They form part of a suite of technical documents produced by the Highways Agency, which comprises:

  • Design Manual for Roads and Bridges
  • Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works
  • Network Maintenance Manual, and Routine and Winter Service Codes



The volumes within the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges are[1]:

Volume 0 - Introduction and General requirements
Volume 1 - Highway Structures: Approval Procedures and General Design
Volume 2 - Highway Structures: Design (Substructures and Special Structures), Materials
Volume 3 - Highway Structures: Inspection and Maintenance
Volume 4 - Geotechnics and Drainage
Volume 5 - Assessment and Preparation of Road Schemes
Volume 6 - Road Geometry
Volume 7 - Pavement Design and Maintenance
Volume 8 - Traffic Signs and Lighting
Volume 9 - Traffic Control and Communications
Volume 10 - Environmental Design
Volume 11 - Environmental Assessment
Volume 12 - Traffic Appraisal of Road Schemes
Volume 13 - Economic Assessment of Road Schemes
Volume 14 - Economic Assessment of Road Maintenance
Volume 15 - Economic Assessment of Road Schemes in Scotland

The individual volumes contain technical requirements and guidance on a wide range of topics. The material includes:[2]:

  • technical and other procedures and methods to be employed;
  • analytical criteria to be used;
  • appraisal requirements;
  • dimensional requirements;
  • numerical and statistical data.

Specific Subjects

Scheme Appraisal
In terms of scheme appraisal, the cost-benefit and environmental impact assessment methods set out in DMRB provide important inputs into the approach used to appraise road schemes, called the New Approach to Appraisal.

Safety Barriers (Road Restraint Systems)
The approach to safety barriers was revised in 2005/06 from a prescriptive approach to a risk assessment-based system (Road Restraints Risk Assessment Process (RRRAP)) [2]. TD 19/06 - "Requirements for Road Restraint Systems" [3] was issued and the safety barrier drawings in Volume 3 of the Manual of Contract Documents for Highways Works were withdrawn, to be replaced by Highways Agency accepted EN 1317 compliant Road Restraint Systems list [4].


When the DMRB was originally published in 1992 it only covered roads in England and Wales. Its remit was subsequently extended to include roads in Scotland and Northern Ireland. DMRB is managed by the Highways Agency on behalf of the agencies responsible for trunk roads in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Use in Republic of Ireland

Rather than create a separate design manual for roads in the Republic of Ireland, the UK's Design Manual for Roads and Bridges has also applied in the Republic of Ireland since 2001, with an additional addendum inserted by the National Roads Authority to cater for local conditions in the country. In this form it is known as the NRA Design Manual for Roads and Bridges or NRADMRB. The Irish version incorporates Volumes 1,2, 4-8 and part of Volume 9 of the UK DMRB.[5]

See also


External links

Highways Agency

Department for Transport

  • Manual for Streets - replaces Design Bulletin 32 (DB32) which deals with residential and non-trunk road design and layout.
  • Traffic Signs Manual - Complete manual, including Chapter 8 - Roadworks and temporary situations (2006).
  • Traffic Advisory Leaflets - Downloads of advice covering subjects such as provision for pedestrians and cyclists, traffic modelling and calming.

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