Monday January 21, 2019
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Traffic Management Guidelines and Information

Guidelines for production companies filming on location using a specialized company to provide a professional traffic control and service

Guidelines for production companies filming on location using a specialist company to provide a professional traffic control and service:


The information included is set out to enhance safety and efficiency and to properly manage the location traffic, and to ensure the correct relations are established between the production company/location department, the traffic management company, the borough officials, and passing motorists, pedestrians and local residents.


Other information included may help a production company/location manager when considering and applying for a traffic control for the purpose of filming, and may also help when selecting a reputable “film related” “traffic management specialist company”.


Although some of the following information may be common practice for some, it is available for the safety and benefit of all. I trust that reading through the following will be helpful, and that it is taken with the good intention with which it was written.


Starting the TM process & running the show:

1: On choosing a potential highway location, a member of production/locations will contact the filming liaisons/office of that borough to discuss with them and there highways department, (highways) the possibility of gaining permission for a traffic control to assist the chosen filming area’s: if in agreement, highways will then provide the required application forms to be completed and returned by production/locations: “application time stipulations apply”.

The chosen traffic management (TM) company will then carryout a site visit at the desired location under the instruction and guidance of production/locations to determine the traffic control lay out in relation to the camera position's and shooting area’s: “it may be advisable to have a TM representative attend the technical recce”.

Further, it is essential to the (TM application plan) and (TM operation) that production/locations determine the final camera directions to properly establish the TM stop points. And in addition to ensure the TM operatives “when operating” that the high visibility clothing, and chapter 8 TM signage “of which are a legal requirement for a traffic control and also essential in validating the TM companies insurance” “do not compromise the filming” and further, “the filming dose not compromise the traffic control and road safety”. 


2: On completion of the site visit or technical recce, the TM company will provide a TM plan, risk assessment, method statement, and proof of TM insurance. Of which locations will use when submitting the application to highways to potentially gain permission for the traffic control.

At present, the “time frame” and “other stipulations” for a TM application dose vary between Boroughs. And in addition to gaining permission for a stop & go traffic control, for an application to have a road closed, the (closure/diversion) application time frame is greater. Further, pre warning traffic signs/closure notices may have to be placed at the closure points/area’s at around ten days prior to the closure commencing. It should also be noted that depending on the Borough application stipulations and other factors, for example speed limits, bus routes, bus lanes, the type of highway and the complexity of the highway concerned. The liaisons or highways department will be able to advise of any

additional requirements. Or offer suggestions if the chosen location is not suitable to gain permission on within your time frame or project type. The liaisons company may possibly be able to offer an alternative location option, thus saving unnecessary time and expenses. However, should a production company be intent on using a potentially complex location for the benefit of a scene! A greater time scale must be allowed, especially for additional time for plan adjustments and further negotiations with officials/highways.


3: The traffic control holding times may vary on dependance of the area, and highway concerned. Although some Boroughs may impose a two minuet holding time, the usual maximum holding time “unless otherwise agreed with highways” is three minuets. However additional time will have to be allowed to clear the backlog of held vehicles before a further hold can be carried out again. “So it is essential to the filming process that traffic is not held before it is necessary: and is safely released as soon as possible. Further, to achieve maximum efficiency on location, good communication with your on set traffic supervisor is essential.


In addition, should a stop & go control be granted when the stop positions are near to the end of a road/junction. Depending on the held traffic backing up and creating a potential obstruction on surrounding roads, the held traffic may have to be released to clear the backlog: “which of course may affect the shooting schedule”

Further, should a permanently fixed set of traffic lights be present within area of the film related traffic control points, This could effect the time in which the filming traffic control can be completed, and these factors may cause delays with the shoot. In addition, steps may have to be taken to ensure permission for your control can be gained. For example, fixed stop & go traffic lights may have to be covered and the junction manually controlled.

Depending on the nature of the highway, the length of the scene, and action repositioning times. Production may wish to have pre warning signs set out at various points to aid the stop & go traffic control. Especially to advise motorists in advance of the possible short delays expected on the shooting day. Although this is not a legal requirement at present, placing such signs within the control area a few days prior to the shoot commencing can assist the schedule and promote good public and professional relations.


4: The prices charged by the TM operators may vary, and so too will the service they can provide. For the overall safety and benefit of the shoot, and to ensure the TM company of your choice are location aware! Please use a team that specializes in servicing the film and TV industry. As using specialists with long term involvement within the industry may ensure the TM operatives have the knowledge and experience to work better with the 1st AD on set. “which is of course paramount to production”.


5: On location, before the traffic control commences, the lead TM operative and the 1st AD should have communication to establish (1) the traffic control points and numbers in relation to the shooting area: (2) any special requirements the 1st may wish to convey to the lead operative: and (3) to determine the procedures in the event of an emergency. For example, should a rouge vehicle breach the stop point, or should an emergency vehicle pass through. The 1st AD is more aware of the control system, and can pass on any agreed information to the runners, and also inform the rest of the crew of his potential warning communications in such events. Further, the numbered traffic control points will determine the control area’s, which may be essential when moving cast, crew or equipment to create a safe environment and vehicle passage.


6: When the TM company is made aware of the shooting schedule involving the traffic control, this will ensure the supervising operative is fully aware of the shooting plan, and will allow the TM team to be properly briefed on vital safety topics: for example, if the control is strictly to benefit the view of the camera, or if the cast and crew members may be situated on the highway during takes. And further, should any stunts be scheduled to take place: in addition, it is useful for the supervisor to know what action vehicles are to be involved within the scenes, as otherwise an uncertain TM operative may confuse an action vehicle as being an unrelated rouge vehicle: when possible, the action vehicle starting point should be within the controlled area, as other motorists being held do tend to follow the vehicle in front, especially not knowing the vehicle pulling away is involved with the shoot. “making good progress is obviously crucial, though safety is paramount”

Further, key production members should be aware of the TM plan layout, and the method and risk wording. In addition, the cast and crew should also be pre-warned on the day that the particular shooting day is subject to a traffic control, as although the TM operatives are placed to optimize safety, rogue, and unroadworthy vehicle operators do use the highway, and may breach a control point at any time. So extra caution must be taken inside of the controlled zone. In addition, in the event of an impatient or potentially aggressive motorists creating an unwelcome situation, it may be more productive to stop the filming and let them pass to avoid unnecessary confrontation and wasted time. Further, undesired situations must be dealt with professionally, and cast and crew members should avoid intervening to allow the TM operative to properly diffuse a situation more swiftly.


7: Should the TM operatives not be required for every scene, it maybe advisable to temporarily stand them down from there stop & go points. And further give them a ten minuet warning to stand by for duty again. Standing the operatives down, or keeping them informed will ensure the team are attentive and ready for action when required. Although production/locations may wish to utilize the operatives during this time. For example to be present nearer to set to help highlight the area to passing motorists, or help guide motorists safely past the scene area or a stationed action vehicle. Although, the specialist traffic management team should not be confused with film security/assistants.

As the two cogs are totally separate parts of the big wheel, both with much to take into consideration within there separate, specific, and essential role.


8: Regarding the radio use for the TM company, it is essential that there communication signal is not broken until the the lock and release communications have been confirmed with the 1st AD. And with the communication between the TM operatives themselves. As the road lock off must be confirmed with all TM operatives before scenes can safely take place. And regarding the traffic release, until the recent held traffic is properly released and has passed, a further traffic hold may not be possible.

As an example, when controlling traffic to stop at two points, thus only two operatives are required, the TM lead, and second operative will usually communicate directly with the 1st AD on the main shooting channel. And pedestrians may be held and released by the runners on the traffic hold and release request. This will help to avoid the TM operatives being talked over and speed up the traffic control process.

When there are more than two stop & go point’s, or the traffic requires additional management/control, the lead operative should be provided with two radio’s. One of which to take orders from, and communicate with the 1st AD, and one that the lead operative can use to communicate directly with the other TM operatives. Further, it is essential for the TM supervisor to only receive communications from one person! For example the 1st AD. And also that others do not get involved with the traffic control system, ensuring only the TM operatives stop or release traffic, or wave traffic through. In addition, should any TM signs or personnel become within the cameras view, the lead TM operative must supervise, and be in agreement with the movement of signs or operatives: “moving TM personnel, and signs from there position is something that must be carried out correctly”.

Further, the mobile contact number of the TM operatives may be noted in case of a faulty radio. And additional radio batteries should be provided for the TM team. It is also vital that the TM operatives radio’s are checked and in good working order to avoid potential failure: “radio communication between the TM operatives, and also between the lead TM operative and the 1st AD is paramount”.


9: On location, when the crew are working near, or on the highway. High visibility waistcoats to standard EN471 should be provided by production/locations. Further, only those required to work on the highway should be permitted, and those working should appreciate they on a public highway: “all other crew, and cast should stand well clear to ensure safety, and pedestrian access on pathways”.


10: Runners and stewards/marshals may be required to cover private areas and entrances inside of the traffic control points to possibly hold motorists wishing to move from a stationary point, and for example to ensure parked vehicles no not move during the traffic control times. In addition, high visibility waistcoats must be used and all persons involved must be fully briefed: “all vehicles within the stop & go points are the responsibility of production/locations, and these areas should be managed by production/locations to ensure against unrelated vehicle and pedestrian movement”. 


11: When scenes are shot during darkness, and when it is not possible to place the chapter 8 traffic control signs and stop points, for example to benefit from standard street lighting. Additional lights to highlight the control points may be required. Three sets of additional night lights for each control point may be necessary, and portable battery lights are usually provided by production/locations. Further, due to the possible light interference from the night lights, “possibly being too close to set” it may be required by production/locations that the stop points are placed further than usual from the filming area, and this should be taken into consideration at the time of the site meeting and TM plan layout. Further, temporary electrical/mechanical traffic light systems may have to be implemented (by order of Highways) in place of the manual stop and go boards: “Darkness scenes must be brought to the TM companies attention at early stages of discussions”.


Professional Experience:


The knowledge and experience I have gained throughout the past 20+ years working on location, I feel is invaluable to providing TM to the Industry. Further, the diplomatic people-handling skills of which I have gained can help greatly in communicating with motorist’s, the public and others on location. I personally train my team to ensure the related skills and qualities are passed on to the fully licensed, experienced and professional operatives that work with me on set. In addition, we understand the importance of punctuality and that presentation is a key factor in promoting good relations. (continued)


OST is proud to offer a comprehensive traffic management service without deviating into any other practices allowing us to focus wholly on traffic management. Further, the team and I are committed to working on set. Therefore we work with you to provide our reliable and tested service solely to the film and TV industry and understand your special requirements.


Please feel free to call for assistance: 07946 151120:

We look forward to seeing you soon.


Kind regards,



On Set Traffic Management:

The information enclosed was created by Bill Stanley of On Set Traffic Management:  All rights of this material have been reserved.


The creator of the wording and information herein will not be held responsible for any actions that may occur from reading the text enclosed and therefore the information within must only be taken as guidance. No authorization is given for the wording within to be copied changed or used by any other parties whether for financial gain, related training or other purposes. Bill Stanley TM