Planning Portal

Transport Assessment

The objective of this Guide is to assist in the preparation of Transport Assessments for development proposals in Northern Ireland, the policy context for which is set out in Planning Policy Statement 13: Transportation and Land Use and Planning Policy Statement 3: Access, Movement and Parking

Who should read the guidelines?

All those involved in the transport and land-use development process in Northern Ireland, including:
  • developers and their consultants involved in preparing proposals for new developments or the re-development of existing sites;
  • staff within the Department for Regional Development (DRD) and the Department of the Environment (DOE) with responsibility for land-use planning and transport issues;
  • District Councils, given their statutory consultee role in the development control process;
  • public transport providers/operators in Northern Ireland;
  • those who may need or wish to understand the Transport Assessment process - including members of the public who may be affected by proposed developments and groups with specific interests in transport.

Role of the government, developers and public transport operators


The Department of the Environment (DOE) is responsible for planning control in Northern Ireland. The Planning Service, an agency within the Department, administers its planning functions. The Department’s statutory planning functions are contained in the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 and associated subordinate legislation.
DOE Planning Service prepares development plans which may be in the form of area plans, local plans or subject plans and they apply the regional policies at the appropriate local level. Development plans inform all interested bodies of the policy framework and land use proposals that will be used to guide development decisions within their local area. They provide a firm basis for rational and consistent decisions on planning applications and provide a measure of certainty about which types of development will and will not be permitted.  Development plans are the primary means of reconciling any potential conflicts between the need for development and the need to protect the built and natural environment.
The Department for Regional Development (DRD) is responsible for strategic planning and transport policy development in Northern Ireland. Roads Service is an agency of the DRD and has responsibility for roads.
The DRD’s functions include:
  • strategic planning;
  • transportation strategy;
  • transport policy and support;
  • ports and airports policy;
  • roads and water policy;
  • providing and maintaining roads; and
  • providing and maintaining water and sewerage services.
Planning Service and DRD staff are available to advise developers on the Transport Assessment process.


Developers are responsible for undertaking a Transport Assessment for a proposed development or re-development. A Transport Assessment Form (Appendix A) must be submitted with each planning application. Its purpose is to screen out those applications where no further information on the transport impacts  is needed and help identify applications where developers will be asked by Planning Service to prepare a detailed Transport Assessment.

Public transport operators

Developers should discuss their proposals with public transport operators at an early stage in order to consider:
  • the site access arrangements and infrastructure requirements for public transport services2 ; and
  • whether new public transport services or alterations to existing services are needed to provide the appropriate level of public transport accessibility for the site.

Equality impact assessment

When preparing these guidelines for public consultation, DRD screened the document and concluded that there would be no significant implications for equality of opportunity or community relations arising from the contents. Therefore it was considered that an Equality Impact Assessment was not required.
2 Guidelines for Planning for Public Transport in Developments (The Institution of Highways and Transportation, 1999)
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