Learning from European Experiences in the Field of Land Use and Transport Planning: a Dutch Case Study

Learning from European Experiences in the Field of Land Use and Transport Planning: a Dutch Case Study


P Eijkelenbergh, M J Martens, TNO Inro, NL




In the last ten years the integration of land use and transport projects had a prominent place on the national but also on regional policy agenda?s in The Netherlands. In the 1990s two policies were introduced: the ABC-location policy for businesses and the policy on large scale dwelling locations for housing. Both policies are included in the fourth national policy document on spatial planning (Dutch abbreviation: ?VINO?) and in its revision in 1995 (Dutch abbreviation: ?VINEX?). In the last two years the need for land use and transport planning is criticized and revisions are introduced. It was concluded that modifying the spatial structure is a rather ineffective way of curbing national mobility and that Spatial planning policy has a much greater impact on matters related to quality of the more local environment than on total volume of traffic in terms of numbers of journeys and kilometres driven. This change of mind setting asks for a revision of policies and applied instruments. Experiences in other European cities might help.

This paper aims to explore what Dutch cities can learn from other European cities in the field of land use and transport. The paper is divided into two parts: planning and implementation. The first part aims to identify good practices which can be of help to change existing land use and transport planning in The Netherlands from a more national orientation towards a more local and urban orientation. The second part will focus on how to realise the implementation of integrated land-use and transport projects. Implementation is since long considered to be the weakness of the Dutch planning system, due to the combination of centralised planning and decentralised implementation.

Case study material is collected during the Transplus project, which is started in 2000 and is still in progress. This project is commissioned by the European Commission and aims to study best practices to manage transport demand through integrated land-use and transport planning. The overall aim is to achieve more sustainable urban transport patterns, i.e. reducing private car use, fostering public transport and non motorised transport. The project includes detailed case study research into the planning efforts and the implementation activities.

The case study approach applied is an interactive process, which started with a more generic survey with mainly open questions (similar for all cities) and ended with more city-specific closed-question surveys and interviews.

Learning from good planning: Examples of polycentric planning strategies

During the development of the fifth national policy document on spatial planning (Dutch abbreviation: ?VIJNO?) new concepts were introduced, among others the notion of polycentric network cities. These network cities are an alternative for monocentric and units, and/or various fields of competences (e.g. land planning, transport, tax policies, etc). The task in SCATTER consists of analysing and comparing various ways of cooperation between institutional players.

There is in fact a whole range of ways of cooperation, from formal institutionalisation (e.g. the creation of new institutions, like the ?urban communities? in France ? communaut├ęs urbaines) to rather informal cooperation between existing institutions (without the creation of a new formal institution), including, somewhere in-between, forms like ?contractualisation? (?contract? between two institutional players). The aim will be to investigate the advantages/disadvantages and the overall efficiency of various ways of cooperation and to provide recommendations to authorities which would like to set up a platform of cooperation.

8. Expected outcomes from the simulations with land-use-transport models : A quantitative assessment of policies

Integrated land-use/transport models are the most appropriate tool to properly analyse and assess the impacts of policies dealing with urban sprawl : indeed, one of the essential features of these models is that they take into account and simulate the interactions between land-use and transport.

Using these models, different types of policies will be tested, in Brussels, Stuttgart and Helsinki : transport policies (car use pricing, public transport pricing, parking policies, ...), land use policies (land use plans restricting land capacity, ...), tax and pricing policies (land tax measures, push and pull measures for companies, ...).

In all 3 case cities, the question of urban sprawl and accompanying measures for suburban public transport is quite topical. In Brussels, the authorities have decided to implement a new suburban express railway service, linking the suburbs to the central part of the metropolitan area, which should accelerate the out-migration of middle class families to the suburban area. In Stuttgart, the increasing suburban rail and light rail network had and will have socio-economic impacts as well as impacts on population redistribution. In Helsinki, due to sprawl, 1% growth in population of the metropolitan area causes 2% growth in car mileage; on the other hand, extension of the metro is planned and new rail investments were implemented recently.

On the basis of the outcomes of the models, environmental, economical and social indicators will be calculated.

Most (if not all) of the simulation results will be available by October 2003, at the time of the Conference.

9. Conclusions

The issue of urban sprawl is closely related to transport. It is a complex and highly multi-dimensional phenomenon, involving many private and public players. The SCATTER project will provide outcomes on best practices in land-use/transport policies, to tackle that issue.

The purpose of this task was to understand the local events and rationale involved in the emergence of urban sprawl, its relevance in the decisional agenda of local authorities, and the overall level of awareness of this particular urban phenomenon.

Some common factors emerged in the 6 case cities and were analysed, related to the perception of the causes, the level of awareness regarding urban sprawl, and the awareness of institutional barriers to the implementation of policies.

5. Outcomes of the statistical analysis ? Defining statistical indicators to identify and quantify urban sprawl

The objective of this task was to design a statistical analysis framework aiming to identify and quantify urban sprawl, and to apply it to the six case cities.

The developed statistical framework consists of (i) a specially designed generalized shift-share analysis; (ii) a new measure of concentration, called H- indicator ; (iii) the application of local spatial autocorrelation statistics ; as well as (iv) the calculation of more traditional indicators like densities, shown on maps.

As regard the database, the variables investigated were such as population, employment, income per capita, house prices, etc .

The analysis was applied on time-series data, covering a 20-years period or more, for most of the cities (10 years period for one city).

The analysis led to the conclusion that the six cities all exhibit de-concentration behaviours, but with different modalities. Some cities exhibit a continuing and strong spatial de-concentration of activities; some other exhibit moderate spatial de-concentration of activities, tending towards a stagnation of the pattern; some other exhibit in the same time an out-migration of the rural population towards the urban area and a scattered growth pattern.

6. Expected outcomes from the review of policies : A first qualitative assessment of policies

The review will tackle all types of policies : transport policies, legal and regulatory land use measures, land use plans and schemes, tax and pricing policies, urban design strategies, housing policies.

The review will include case studies from the US and interviews of American planners and authorities. American cities have been subject to urban sprawl for a longer time than those in Europe and planners there have designed and already tested several policies aiming to tackle sprawl. Whatever the dissimilarities between American and European cities, the US experience is of great value to European planners.

7. Expected outcomes from the analysis of institutional barriers and solutions :

Recommendations for innovative ways of cooperation This issue was acknowledged in many studies : there is very often a lack of coordination, or even competition, between various decision-levels, various territorial local/regional authorities, for efficient land-use-transport policies to control urban sprawl, and design an ?urban sprawl monitoring tool?.

2. Overall methodology

The approach followed consists in :

* first stage : improving the understanding of the mechanisms of sprawl and its effects. This first stage includes (i) a state-of-the-art review of urban sprawl effects, (ii) a systemic analysis of urban sprawl on the basis of interviews of experts and local/regional authorities in 6 case cities (Bristol, Brussels, Helsinki, Milan, Rennes, Stuttgart), and (iii) a statistical analysis of time series data in these 6 cities;

* second stage : reviewing and assessing policy measures aiming to wrestle urban sprawl. This second stage includes (i) a review of policies, including policies experienced in the USA, (ii) a critical analysis of institutional barriers and solutions, (iii) a quantitative assessment of the efficiency of policies (as regards the control of urban sprawl), on the basis of simulations carried out with land-use/transport integrated models, in 3 case cities (Brussels, Helsinki, Stuttgart) ;

* third stage : setting up recommendations for local and regional authorities. Three tasks will be carried out in this third stage : (i) provide general recommendations to European cities faced with urban sprawl; (ii) design an ?urban sprawl monitoring tool? intended for local/regional authorities; (iii) set up a practical programme of policy measures for the 6 case cities.

Currently, the first stage has been finished. Results from the interviews and from the statistical analysis in the 6 cities are available now. The review of policies is in progress. By August 2003, conclusions of the review of policies will be available, leading to a first qualitative assessment of the policies, as well as first results of the simulations with land-use/transport models. By October, most (if not all) of the simulation results will be available.

3. Outcomes of the state-of-the-art review : How to define urban sprawl ?

Urban sprawl is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, and hence, requests a multi-dimensional definition. It is also difficult to make a clear distinction between the causes, conditions, and consequences of urban sprawl. The literature reveals a world of contradictory causal and temporal relationships between several events, sprawl being often just one of them.

The main dimensions constituting ?urban sprawl? were discussed in this first task of the project : low density, uncoordinated growth, variety of urban forms, spatial segregation of land uses, etc. Also negative and positive effects of sprawl were listed and discussed, including the negative effects on transport.

4. Outcomes of the interviews of local/regional authorities and experts : How do authorities perceive urban sprawl ? In all, 24 interviews were conducted in the 6 case cities.

(iii) quantifying the additional revenues and costs of new housing developments and their sensitivity towards the chosen location

(iv) using GIS for ?mapping the fiscal system? and thereby making it comparable to transportation patterns as well as infrastructure and land use plans.


Association for European Transport