Transport and Environmental Impacts of Local Development Projects
PURNELL S and DAVIDSON B, Environmental Resources Management, UK
It is becoming more widely recognised, through international summits on sustainable development and both European Commission and Member State policy, that new development and economic growth can have significant adverse effects on the environment and ther
It is becoming more widely recognised, through international summits on sustainable development and both European Commission and Member State policy, that new development and economic growth can have significant adverse effects on the environment and therefore need to be managed in a way that is sustainable.
One of the key adverse effects new developments can have is that associated with the traffic they generate. Traffic from new developments can, if not properly taken into account by planning authorities and developers, lead to, for example, road congestion, noise, poor air quality, severance and a generally reduced level of environmental amenity. These impacts can be exacerbated where traffic from concurrent new developments leads to cumulative effects.
Opportunities exist to ensure that new development can continue to contribute to economic well-being, whilst not giving rise to significant impacts from generated traffic. Realising these opportunities will mean that some difficult decisions will have to be made by government, business and the public alike about how urban areas should be developed and what role transport has to play in this - the new urban realism.
In simple terms, there are two tiers of planning where these oppommities can be most effectively realised, namely:
* planning at a strategic level by regionai and local government - coordinating land use and transport planning such that the need to travel by car is minimised, opportunities to travel by non-car modes are maximised and potential cumulative traffic effects of concurrent new developments are taken into account;
* planning at project level by developers/operators - refining the design of a development, and using that development in such a way that traffic impacts do not arise or are at least managed effectively.
Given the potentially significant adverse effects of continued traffic growth in urban areas and the importance of integrating transport into the development of urban areas, the European Commission saw a need to gain an understanding of how Member States took into account traffic impacts in arriving at planning decisions for local development projects. Directorate General XI of the European Commission requested Environmental Resources Management (ERM) to undertake a study of the ways in which Member States assess and consider the impacts of new development projects on transport and the environment within their planning procedures.
The study had three main objectives:
* to review and analyse the requirements and methods currently in use by Member States for assessing and considering traffic impacts;
* to define best practice guidelines for assessing and considering traffic impacts; and
* to identify mitigation measures to reduce traffic generated by new development projects.
The study resulted in three main outputs:
* A review of requirements and methods currently in use by Member States.
* A case studies database.
* Good practice guidelines.
Association for European Transport