The Road design handbook comprises four parts. `Basic criteria' addresses subjects that apply in general to the other three parts, each of which explores the design of one of the three road categories distinguished by the Sustainable safety of traffic concept, i.e. distributor roads, district access roads and estate access roads. `Basic criteria' first addresses the origins of the Road design handbook and describes the principles of the Sustainable safety of traffic concept. Next, the characteristics of the traffic system components - users, vehicles and the road - are explored, followed by the themes of road safety and accessibility. Traffic safety indices are then presented, offering insight into the collection and use of traffic data. Furthermore, traffic capacity and flow are addressed. The space and environment sections describe the statutory and procedural framework, and look at the assessment aspects for spatial and environmental considerations in planning. In addition, the latest insights regarding the integration of roads into the landscape and working with a landscape plan are presented. Finally, `Basic criteria' leads into the other three parts by drawing a connection between traffic design and the manner in which it is integrated into environment, and road construction design.