Using the Planning Process to Secure Sustainable Transport

Using the Planning Process to Secure Sustainable Transport


L Addison and J Fraser, Addison & Associates, UK



The English planning process is required to promote sustainable transport (PPG13) when determining planning applications but how planning authorities achieve this is extremely variable. What is also unclear is their effectiveness in both managing the travel growth from new development and increasingly securing access by sustainable means. The planning process, and the development of travel plans through it, could be an important factor in effecting change to more sustainable travel patterns given its past impact on the growth in car travel.

The research, commissioned by the DTLR, has investigated what local authorities are doing now, what appears effective and how to enhance the quality and impact of these actions across all local authorities.

It has also researched the private sector view and the involvement of the providers of public transport.Achieving travel plans using the planning process is at an embryonic stage but given the projected growth in car travel it is important for the impact to be maximised as rapidly as possible. It is clear that there is currently considerable uncertainty about how and when to seek travel plans, what they should contain, how to ensure they deliver their objectives and assess that they have, if and how to effectively enforce against non-delivery of the plan or its targets and how to relate them to all types and forms of development.

Many authorities see travel plans as a critical part of their travel demand management strategy and the planning system as a way of enhancing the provision sustainable transport given resources constraints. Authorities are however approaching both the content and how to ensure the provision of travel plans invery different ways and it is clear that, in many instances, not withstanding devoting considerable resources to the process they are currently unlikely to achieve the performance targets being set implicitly or explicitly.

The research (currently underway) will result in national best practice guidance to be published in the Spring covering all the relevant aspects of the policy and process necessary to maximise the potential and will relate it to the concurrent work being undertaken by Transport 2000 on what makes an effective travel plan. It will build on other work undertaken around aspects like mobility management and transport assessments to ensure practitioners can see how to effect the practical integration of the variety of sustainable transport performance indicators, assessment tools, and other methodologies into the planning system when securing travel plans to obtain maximum impact on travel demand and mode of travel.


Association for European Transport