Urban Structure and the Use of the Car: the Case of Five Spanish Medium-sized Cities



Urban Structure and the Use of the Car: the Case of Five Spanish Medium-sized Cities

Authors

ECHEVERRIA JADRAQUE D and MONZON de CACERES A, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain

Description

It has always been sensed that the distribution of land use and economic development were the two main factors in generating traffic. Nevertheless, the provision of support for anticipated urban development was the principal criterion adopted in transport

Abstract

It has always been sensed that the distribution of land use and economic development were the two main factors in generating traffic. Nevertheless, the provision of support for anticipated urban development was the principal criterion adopted in transport planning. With budget restrictions and growing opposition to infrastructure development - the outcome of greater environmental awareness and substantiation of the fact that continuous extension to the road network was not solving traffic problems - attention turned to other types of action aimed more at demand side management. Over different decades these actions included traffic light coordination, priority for public transport and car pooling, etc.

These measures did not lead to the desired results - or were absorbed by a growing demand - so that now in the 1990s attention is turning to land use planning as a tool in transportplanning: with urban development not as a determining factor but as one more tool in transport policy, with the intention of steering economic and residential development in terms of location in order to cut down traffic. The most important measures would involve increasing and controlling urban density, controlling the location of different activities - close to transport nodes - maintaining and developing the importance of urban centres and, finally, achieving a balance between jobs and housing - mixed land use - while keeping up the role of sub-centres, etc.

There is however very little current experience for several reasons: for technical reasons - dis-agreement between professionals as to the most suitable strategy and its potential, for political reasons - rivalry between local councils, reluctance to take measures affecting demand and a lack of tools for controlling land use, and ,for institutional reasons - a lack of integration between urban and transport planning at local level and an overlap in functions.

Publisher

Association for European Transport