The focus for this study is concerned with making the right developmental locational choices at the strategic scale, complemented by planning and transport planning measures to ensure integration with the wider settlement structure and activity patterns. A much more thorough assessment of strategic transport impacts and linkages would give visibility to what are likely to be the most important traffic generation issues. Without this type of analysis, other issues and expediency may drive decisions about the location and form of new growth.
Greatest attention (for example, in transport masterplanning or in transport assessments) has conventionally been given at the lowest level – at the internal site or development level. The limitations of this approach are most immediately evident in cases where purpose-built pedestrian and cycle-ways come to a halt at development boundaries and there is no effective linkage (public transport, walking and cycling) to the neighbouring urban area. The vast majority of trips to and from, what might be an otherwise internally well-designed development, are generally car dependent. Hence there is need for a complementary focus on strategic issues.
Regional and inter-urban interventions
Traditionally initiatives in demand management have focused on places where the inherited built form struggles to accommodate unrestrained increases in traffic demand, at least not without a scale of rebuilding few are prepared to accept. Today’s traffic growth (see data trends) is occurring overwhelmingly in suburban and peri-urban areas and in what might be referred to as ‘inter-urban’ travel (Headicar, 2009). In practice much of this is travel within parts of single or overlapping city regions. It is here that the long-standing ‘business as usual’, and implicitly ‘predict and provide’ mind-set, really needs to change.
The concern with peri-urban areas is linked with another key feature of contemporary spatial planning, namely the planned provision of high levels of additional housing, mainly in the southern half of England. Notwithstanding recent achievements in increasing the use of ‘brownfield’ land and in raising the densities of new residential development, a large proportion of the new dwellings will necessarily occur on greenfield sites. Most of these will take the form of urban extensions, concentrated in the designated Growth Areas and at Growth Points, although exceptionally there are examples of ‘new settlements’. These are all places where, given a ‘clean slate’, there is the greatest opportunity for bringing about improvements in settlement planning, built form and travel behaviour. Hence it is in these places that the bulk of the case study analysis has concentrated. For example, case studies are developed at the following scales:
- Regional – North East
- Metropolitan Area/City Region – Greater Manchester
- Growth Area – Milton Keynes/South Midlands
- Large brownfield site – Longbridge
Local and urban interventions
A greater emphasis on considering strategic impacts should be complemented, of course, by a continued consideration of local design interventions. There is much previous guidance on this topic, particularly in terms of street layout and design. As well as the Manual for Streets (DfT, 2007), Link and Place (Jones, Boujenko and Marshall, 2008) provides an analytical framework for assessing integrated planning and transport interventions in different contexts, developing a typology based on ‘link and ‘place’ objectives.
Case studies are also developed at the following scales:
- Growth Point – Didcot, Oxfordshire; and Sherford, Plymouth
- Smaller scale planned new communities – Northstowe, Cambridge
A number of key themes have also been developed for use by practitioners, applicable at the strategic and/or local scales.