uk-ireland planning research conference oxford brookes university september 2014

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Uk-ireland planning research conFerence Oxford Brookes University September 2014. Larger, denser 21 st century cities : Planning for Sustainable Travel in a New Era Peter Headicar traffic in towns : the view in 1963. Counter-urbanisation. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • UK-IRELAND PLANNING RESEARCH CONFERENCE Oxford Brookes University September 2014Larger, denser 21st century cities : Planning for Sustainable Travel in a New Era




  • THE NEW ERA [from about 1995!]Higher rate of increase in national populationEnd of overall counter-urban shift in spatial distribution Peak car - end of growth in per capita car mileage

    ....which coincided with and are now furthered by....Widespread adoption of urban transport management packages incl promotion of sustainable modesPlanning policies of urban renaissance: economic regeneration, use of brownfield land, higher devt densities










    In order to substantiate my claim for a new era I need to place our present and prospective future situation within a longer-term context*Fifty years ago the dominant concern was impending mass car ownership. To avoid urban paralysis on the one hand and exurban sprawl on the other the Traffic in Towns team recommended large-scale urban redevelopment incorporating radically redesigned highway networks . Even in theory this approach enjoyed favour for only a few years whilst in practice its physicall social and financial implications meant that urban road-building plans were soon scaled down or abandoned. *Meanwhile people were already voting with their wheels.

    During the 1970s there was a large population shift from conurbations and cities to smaller towns and rural areas. Population gains in the less urbanised areas (shown in blue) were accompanied by above average increases in car use per capita (shown in brown).

    This markedly unsustainable trend of counter-urbanisation continued throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s *From the mid 1990s a series of changes took place which in effect marked a new era although its emerging features werent recognised until about 2008.

    The rate of population increase began to grow very considerably principally due to the increase in net immigration which was concentrated in London and other cities. Cities also came to be occupied more by younger adults. The combined effect was for the previous counter-urban shift to come to a halt .

    At the same time per capita car mileage ceased to grow year or year and subsequentkly to decline leading to suggestions that we had reached a saturation point which came to be known as peak car

    The mid 90s were also marked by quite radical changes in planning and transport policy geared to notions of sustainable development. Because of the lead times needed for these to take effect they cannot be regarded as the causal factors behind the break in spatial and car use trends , but they have undoubtedly contributed to the new trajectory since. *This slide shows the change in total population (again in blue) over the four decades to 2011 and on the right projections for the next two decades. As can be seen the growth of 3.5m experienced during the most recent decade was greater than the previous three combined. A further increase of over 8m is projected for the coming two decades.

    In terms of distribution between more and less urbanised areas (shown in dark and light green) we can see the novel feature of the last decade whereby growth in the two types of area was roughly equal. On the basis of demographic factors alone this feature is expected to be sustained over the next two decades although it could be varied in practice as a consequence of strategic decisions on development location.

    *This graph shows the trajectory of car use per head over the last four decades within the five area-types presented previously. It highlights the significance for sustainable travel of the future distribution of population and development. Car use in Greater London the most urbanised area is now only a third of that in shire town and rural areas and is falling faster.*This graph utilises data from the 2011 Census to show in more detail changes in car ownership and car commuting during the most recent decade. In this case 13 area types are identified which are ordered on the basis of declining population density from left to right.

    The first point to highlight is the close relationship between these two variables. Car use for commuting in particular is predicated on car ownership. Ill return to the significance of car ownership later

    The second point is that car ownership and commuting are falling or static in the most densely populated areas (ie London and the provincial centres) places where these were already low, whilst they continue to rise in less urbanised areas where they were already higher. In other words travel behaviour is becoming more polarised spatially

    *What accounts for the changes in car ownership and use since the mid 90s, during most of which incomes have risen and increases would therefore have been expected?

    There is a multitude of factors involved but one of the most important appears to be break with previous trends amongst younger adults, particularly young men, shown here on the left*Research into the reasons for this indicates that the costs involved in learning to drive, owning and insuring a car are of over-riding importance.

    However this is not the whole story. Young people living in urban areas report that public transport is good , or good enough and many young men prefer to cycle. Much use is made of cheap advance rail fares for longer journeys and of lift sharing.

    But perhaps the most significant factor is that amongst these younger adults owning and driving a car no longer enjoys its erstwhile social cachet having the latest mobile phone confers greater distinction! *Returning to the issue of population growth this slide shows projections for Englands largest city authorities. Except for Liverpool they all show increases close to or above the 16% level expected for the nation as a whole.

    The key point is that in these and most other cities increases on this scale imply a significant increase in the density of population and development whereas in the less urbanised areas it is more likely to take the traditional form of development extension into greenfield sites.

    *How is this growth to be accommodated?

    In the previous era we came to recognise that in urban areas increased density of travel demand then arising from increased car ownership would have to be met by a combination of restraint measures (principally control of parking) and the promotion of alternative modes.

    The same principle continues to be applicable today although the source of increased travel demand is now principally growth in population.

    However it is doubtful whether the necessary degree of restraint on urban car use would be achievable (ie politically acceptable) without a complementary process of declining car ownership. In practice this can be seen to come about spontaneously. As car use becomes less practicable, convenient or necessary the benefit derived from owning one declines. Meanwhile as costlier, more fuel efficient vehicles are introduced and particularly as we move towards electrification - the balance between capital and running costs alters fundamentally. Already the majority of new cars are leased rather than purchased. If you are contemplating spending several hundred pounds a month on leasing and running a car it is likely to occur to you at some point that you would be better off hiring one when you need it rather than paying for all the time when it is just sitting doing nothing.

    *The options for doing this within a mixed mode lifestyle including walking, cycling and public transport are now developing rapidly. In particular ICT is being exploited to offer the benefits of car use when and where it is needed via taxii, car hire, car share or lift share - without the cost and hassle of car ownership. But research amongst car club members for example demonstrates that once ownership is forgone and journeys are paid for on a one-off basis car use drops by 40% or more.

    In the previous era dominated by personal car ownership the private interest in maximising its use (to derive greatest benefit) and the public interest in restraining it were in conflict. Given supportive planning and transport policies the prospect of larger denser cities offers opportunities for the private and public interest to be brought together in a common, sustainable trajectory*An example of the combination of densification and transport management already in evidence outside London it interesting to note the changes in Oxford over the decade to 2011.

    During that time its population increased by 13,000 within the same physical boundaries and its workplace employment by 7,000 increases of 12% and 9% respectively. However car ownership amongst residents has dropped by 6% (to 418 cars per 1,000 adults)

    The number of people commuting by car to the citys workplaces has barely changed. The number of car commuters from within the city (LH green pair of columns) has fallen by 18% (2,300) very nearly offsetting the 2,600 (9%) increase in car commuters from outside the city (LH lilac pair of columns) - although