Traffic Guidance Scheme Vs Traffic Management Plan – What is the Difference?

TMP Traffic

If you’re planning to conduct site works on or near a roadway, it’s essential that you implement appropriate traffic control to get the job done efficiently and safely. Without the necessary plans, permits and relevant documentation in place, the works you are completing are likely to be non-compliant leading to an unsafe worksite and the risk of hefty fines.

The documentation you’ll need depends on several factors, however, you’ll almost certainly need to submit a Traffic Guidance Scheme (TGS) or a more detailed Traffic Management Plan (TMP) to the Coordinating Road Authority for approval.

The Traffic Plans Company provides clients with reasonably priced, highly detailed traffic management plans for industries across road building, construction and local government. One question we are commonly asked that causes much confusion for our clients, is the difference between a TGS and TMP, so read on for some useful information which may help to make the documentation you need a little clearer.

The Definition of ‘Works’

Section 99A(3)(a) of the Road Safety Act 1986 requires any person conducting works on a road to ‘have in operation a traffic management plan’. As per the Road Management Act, ‘works’ on a road includes any activity conducted on or in the vicinity of a road in connection with construction, maintenance or repair.

Typical examples include, but are not limited to:

  • excavating
  • erecting or removing a structure
  • landscaping
  • tunnelling
  • installing pipes, drains, cables, poles or buildings/shelters
  • impeding the use of a road for the purpose of conducting any works

What is a Traffic Guidance Scheme (TGS)?

A TGS is a visual guide showing critical site information and the arrangement of temporary traffic control devices in and around the work site to change the existing road and footpath conditions.

Typically, it is a clear and simple to follow A3 drawing. It outlines the necessary contacts, emergency vehicle and public transport allowances, traffic controller instructions and signage requirements.

What is a Traffic Management Plan (TMP)?

Far more detailed than a TGS, a TMP is a compilation of traffic guidance schemes from the worksite in combination with other documents including risk assessments, hazard identification, mitigation methods, OH&S, existing road conditions, traffic volumes generated from the site, and other considerations including, signage and equipment, Road Safety Audits, inspections and reporting, traffic flow and volume, and incident management.

What Should Be Included in a TMP?

Information that must be included and taken into account when preparing a TMP is set out in both the Road Safety Traffic Management Regulations 2019 and The Code of Practice – Traffic Management 2010.

According to regulation 35 of the Road Safety Traffic Management Regulations 2019, a TMP must include:

  • A fully dimensioned site specific or generic Traffic Guidance Scheme (TGS)
  • Set out standard operating procedure
  • Nature and duration of activity/works
  • Worksite or location of the activity
  • Site specific risk assessment (including for each TGS)
  • Details of arrangement of traffic control devices, including for each stage of works for both day time and night time
  • Proposed speed reductions
  • Provisions for: Public transport, other traffic such as vehicular traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and persons with disabilities
  • Measures included to control identified risks
  • Clearance between traffic and persons conducting works

Additional items that have to be included in the TMP (according to the Code of Practice – Traffic Management), include:

  • Safety of the workers at the worksite
  • Overall traffic management strategy
  • Emergency access (for workers and emergency services)
  • Any unusual hazards
  • Use of alternative routes
  • Provision for over-dimensional vehicles
  • Provision for access to abutting properties
  • Arrangements to address and monitor the risk of end-of-queue collisions
  • Traffic management installation sequence
  • Emergency contact details
  • Communication arrangements
  • Record keeping

The Complexity of a TMP Will Depend On Several Factors, Including:

  • Expected worksite hazard rating (High or Low).
  • Whether the works are on an arterial road (VicRoads) or on a local council road.
  • The location of the work area (on or off road) and as a result the required traffic management strategy.

The location of works and the required traffic management strategy will determine how many of the above items need to be considered. You should ask yourself the below:

  • are the works requiring a road closure and detour?
  • are the works near public transport facilities, pedestrians or cyclists?
  • is access through the worksite able to be maintained for residents and emergency services?

Typically, TMPs for works on local council roads with a Low hazard rating usually comprise of a Hazard Assessment and a Traffic Guidance Scheme where the above required matters are able to be addressed in these two documents.

For works on VicRoads roads however, the worksite hazard rating is typically High, due to the higher speed limits and higher volumes of traffic. Therefore, a TMP document that includes a TGS in it is required to fully address the above listed matters that are likely to be affected.

Obtaining Road Authority Approval

Both a TGS and TMP must be prepared in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1742.3 2009 for approval to be granted. It’s important to note that when applying for a road authority approval (VicRoads) in the form of a Memorandum of Authorisation (MOA), only the submission of a TGS and a Hazard Assessment is required for the approval to be issued. However, it is still the responsibility of the works manager to have a Traffic Management Plan in place and not just the Traffic Guidance Scheme prepared and available on site. The works manager will be required to show the TMP in the event of a VicRoads audit on the day of the works. Failing to provide the TMP at the time of an audit may result in a breach of Regulations and could attract prosecution.

Let The Traffic Plans Company Help You

When conducting works on or near a road, there is a lot to manage and coordinate to ensure your site is compliant and importantly, safe for employees, pedestrians and other road users. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the paperwork involved, and that’s where we come in.

Headed by two experienced construction industry professionals with a wealth of knowledge and expertise, we’ve become an industry-leading provider of high-quality, fully compliant traffic management plans for a diverse range of settings. Known for accuracy and attention to detail, we will help you seamlessly navigate the council approval systems so you can focus on what you do best – getting the works done efficiently and effectively.

If you need more information, get a quote or request a plan online, or contact our team today by calling (03) 9066 4417.

The Traffic Plans Company specialise in quality traffic management plans and planning around Melbourne and other areas of Australia.