- Peter Headicar
- Stephen Brown
- Members of project team led by Robin Hickman, Halcrow Group
Total grant value: £30,000 (OBU element)
Time duration: June 2008 - October 2009
The aim of the project was to review evidence surrounding the relationship between settlement patterns and the demand for travel with a view to publishing guidance to planning practitioners to assist them in fulfilling Government aspirations to lessen demand, especially by car.
The project involved:
- A comprehensive international review of academic and professional literature
- Analysis of relevant data trends in the UK
- A series of English case studies, focused mainly on areas of major housing growth, exploring treatment of the subject in recent practice
- Synthesis of the above evidence to derive a set of principles to guide planning practitioners, complementing the policy material contained in PPG13 (Transport)
The literature review found that although research in recent years had explored important new dimensions of the subject (particularly the locational implications of some people's predisposition to distinctive travel behaviour) there generally remained value in earlier findings concerning the association of settlements' physical attributes (notably size and density) with observed travel volumes and mode shares. Analysis of recent National Travel Survey data confirmed these relationships, although limitations in the way NTS data is classified tends to 'muddy' these effects by being unable to account for specific spatial factors (the relationship of individual settlements to their wider sub-regional geography) which is only evident in more locally-based research.
The case studies identified only rudimentary understanding of the available literature amongst planning practitioners and their tendency to rely instead on a limited number of tenets contained in official guidance. The requirement for Transport Assessments of major developments (introduced in 2001) coupled with recent design guidance such as Manual for Streets had improved awareness of transport issues when dealing with individual developments.
However, the current operation of the planning system was characterised by a relatively weak consideration of these issues at a strategic level. This conflicted with the fact that, in pursuing the objective of less car travel, it was decisions at this level which had the greatest significance for actual outcomes.
This evidence was synthesised into a set of principles to guide practitioners which gave more weight than hitherto to strategic decision-making, viz:
- Settlement size
- Strategic development location
- Strategic transport network
- Jobs-housing balance
- Accessibility of key facilities
- Development site location
- Mix of uses
- Neighbourhood design and street layout
- Travel Demand Management
- Parking and Servicing
Commission for Integrated Transport (2009), London:
- Planning for Sustainable Transport (Summary guide and parallel web-based guidance)
- Settlement Patterns and the Demand for Travel (Research report).
Headicar, P. and Brown, S. (2009) The Transport Implications of Strategic Development Location: Evidence from Oxfordshire. Seventh Transport Practitioners Meeting, University of Reading, PTRC, London.
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