Planning for Sustainable Travel: Integrating Spatial Planning and Transport

Planning for Sustainable Travel: Integrating Spatial Planning and Transport


R Hickman, Halcrow Group and Oxford University, UK; C Seaborn, Halcrow Group, UK; P Headicar, Oxford Brookes University, UK; D Banister, Oxford University, UK



This paper reports on the current study on settlement patterns and the demand for travel for the Commission for Integrated Transport (2008-09). The research assembles and interprets existing evidence on the influence of urban structure (density, settlement size, jobs-housing balance, accessibility, street layout) on travel patterns (travel distance, mode), and the inter-relationships with socio-economic, attitudinal and other contextual characteristics. It includes an international literature review, data analysis using the National Travel Survey and a series of case study interviews with practitioners around the UK. The analysis covers the difficult empirical issues of causality and self selection and is placed within the context of achieving an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to 2050.

The case studies explored include experience in the integration of urban planning and transport in Greater Manchester, Didcot, Sherford, and Northstowe. Practitioners reflect that ?good intentions? concerning sustainability objectives are often modified, or ?frame referenced? in view of the difficulties of practical application. There is a difference between the aspirations of guidance, such as PPG13, which seeks to reduce the need to travel, and research which seeks to understand the potential for observed or prospective change in actual travel behaviour. The strategic transport impacts of differing development locations and forms, in particular, are given little attention in practice, certainly relative to the recent focus on internal design layout.

The end objective in further integrating settlement structure and transport is to move beyond the current discourse, to enable and achieve more sustainable travel patterns. Greater regional and or sub-regional analysis appears important, with new settlement growth understood in terms of the likely impact on the surrounding labour market catchments. A greater forward looking aspect is also needed to decision-making. Development location and transport investment decisions made today are critical; they will influence travel patterns for many years to come.


Association for European Transport