Assessment of Trade-off Between Land Use and Sustainable Transport in a Port City

Assessment of Trade-off Between Land Use and Sustainable Transport in a Port City

Nominated for The Planning for Sustainable Land Use and Transport Award


Cristian Giacomini, Dept. of Engineering and Architecture - University of Trieste, Giovanni Longo, Dept. of Engineering and Architecture - University of Trieste, Elio Padoano, Dept. of Engineering and Architecture - University of Trieste


A method is presented to find the “right” balance between land use and sustainable mobility. The results are discussed with reference to an important requalification in a middle-sized European port city.


Trieste is a middle-sized border city in the north east of Italy, built between the sea and a hillside: this is the reason why Trieste’s urban territory is not very extensive: only 84,5 km2.
Its Port is the first in Italy in terms of volume of freight traffic: it is a strategic node for European freight movements and the activities related to the Port characterize the economy of the city.
In the heart of Trieste, there is an area called “Old Port”, huge in comparison with the city centre extension, which covers about 600.000 m2 and stretches 3 km along the seafront with more than a million m3 of buildings - many of which historically important - and equipment. The whole area has been abandoned for many years with the exception of some Port activities in the waterfront. The site of the Old Port is, nonetheless, well connected to the city centre, to the main inbound and outbound roads, and the entire site is also served by a network of rail tracks directly connected to the city’s main railway station.
Recently the Old Port area has become city-owned: several projects have been proposed for the area requalification and, at the same time, a sustainable transport plan has been launched, but neither have been approved to date.
The redevelopment plans include the renovation of all buildings in Old Port (preserving their high architectural value) and the construction of new ones. According to the most relevant existing projects, together with new residential investments, the buildings will house an educational centre, museums, a theatre, sport centres, shops, hotels and offices for the Old Port management, while in the seafront there will be ferry terminals and nautical amusement activities
The area requalification will generate a positive impact, not only on economic growth, but also on new employment opportunities, in the development of the city tourism, as well as, in the cultural field.
At present, the transport plan for the Old Port will focus on sustainable mobility, which includes the establishment of pedestrian and bicycle paths, management of a bike sharing system, a boat service, the introduction of bus and hybrid bus lines as well as rail tracks and the promotion of carpooling. The main goals of the projects are pollution and noise reduction, traffic safety, along with citizens’ health and quality of life improvement.

In this context, it can be useful to focalise the attention on a related problem: will the land use and the transport plans become integrated? A huge number of people will require to move to the new requalified Port area, but, will the new sustainable transport system be able to satisfy the new mobility demand? How will the traffic change in the areas close to the Old Port (actually the City Centre)?
In this paper an evaluation method is presented with the aim of supporting the identification and assessment of the trade-off between land use objectives and low-carbon transport objectives. The need of finding the “right” balance between land use and sustainable mobility is a crucial problem, even more because the potential impacts of the land use plans (employment, tourism, economy) and transport plans (pollution reduction, health improvement) are relevant to the citizens’ life in the urban environment.
The method is composed by the following phases:
- Statement of the objectives;
- Individuation of a set of categories of impact and related indicators (from CIVITAS list, e.g. economic, environmental, social, etc.);
- Determination of the generated flow rate according to each land use plans: this is possible through the “Trip generation manual” which provides trip rates for each kind of land use;
- Multi-criteria analysis in order to weight criteria and obtain an overall judgment
- Multi-objective optimization in order to gain the optimum balance between different plans objectives.
The assessment and results are going to be discussed in the full paper.


Association for European Transport