Report calls for integration of transport and land use planning

A report to be launched today (19th July), at an event in London, sets out the stark choices ahead in new planning reforms on whether transport and land use planning will be integrated or fragmented.

The report, for pteg by Transport for Quality of Life (‘Thriving Cities: Integrated land use and transport planning’), highlights the Government’s forthcoming National Planning Policy Framework as a key tipping point for whether transport provision for new development will be an afterthought (with all the ‘sprawl and congestion’ that implies) or whether transport and land use planning will be integrated in a way that ensures green, smart and efficient development.

In highlighting good and bad practice from the UK and beyond, the report shows how much the functioning of towns and cities can be improved when transport is central to land use planning.

The report says: ‘The evidence leads to one compelling conclusion: where sustainability of transport is an integral consideration in the land use planning process, non-car modes of travel become dominant, but where development proceeds without due regard to transport considerations then car dependence is the outcome.’

The report recommends ‘three golden rules’ for future planning policy:

  • All major development should be public transport centred
  • All major development should aim to achieve a design where car journeys are a minority of mode share
  • Development should primarily occur as infill, or at least adjacent to, major centres.

The report also calls for local authorities, and Local Economic Partnerships, to be encouraged to proactively draw up highly sustainable masterplans for development sites of key significance – including for new Enterprise Zones.

More widely planning processes (like those for major planning applications) should universally include the bodies responsible for local transport.

Director of the pteg Support Unit, Jonathan Bray, said:

“The report we are launching today sets out the consequences of poor planning against the benefits of getting it right, and the key policy prescriptions needed to build more sustainable, and more economically successful cities.

“By thinking through the transport implications of new development, and making those implications more integral to decision-making processes, new developments can become more successful and reduce congestion, whilst improving the functioning of urban areas.”

Chair of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Clive Betts MP, said:

“We are at a critical point in the reform of the planning system. There is a real danger that we lose the things that make planning a success in a reforming zeal – such as the need to properly integrate transport and land use planning.

“Contrary to the view that decisions on development are best left to the market, this report demonstrates the key role that local transport authorities play.

“Well thought through and integrated decision-making on development can only improve their sustainability and their contribution to the nation’s economy.”

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