How better transport results from land use planning

Why is understanding the linkages between land use and transport so important for transport and planning professionals?

Transport is a primarily a derived demand, we travel in order to get to a destination, to undertake an activity and to carry goods. Land use is a key determinant of the need, when, how, and where to travel.

So learning how to influence land use and develop integrated transport plans means you will become one of the critical few transport and planning professionals who have this knowledge and know what an be done.

Land use planning is key to liveable communities. Influencing the location, density, mix and planning of land use, can enable a more efficient design of the transport system.

We can reduce the need, cost and risk of travel and provide flexibility to meet the demands of a changing economy.

Australia’s economy is concentrated in a few major coastal cities. Transport is a critical enabler of economic activity.

Containing the rising cost of traffic congestion in major urban areas, due the sustained growth in private car use, is a key challenge.

A number of concepts have been developed as a new approach to urban development that embraces, but does not rely on, car transport, including new urbanism, transit oriented development, and smart growth.

These all require a balanced approach, through higher density housing in mixed use centres and designing communities that enable quality public transport to gain mode share.

Key features of quality public transport are:

  • frequent and reliable services and predictable journey times
  • providing good access to major destinations
  • comfortable travel and interchanging
  • reasonable fares for integrated services.

Land use design principles that support cost-effective public transport:

  • increased density of housing
  • comfortable, safe walking distance to quality services
  • mix of land uses for shorter trips to local services
  • locate employment within key centres to minimise travel
  • transfer points in major centres.

Some land use planning challenges for public transport in modern Australian cities include:

  • land use designed around car access, with indirect routes and cul-de-sacs
  • dispersed, low density settlement pattern, makes it difficult to cost-effectively service with public transport
  • limited priority for pedestrians, and all public transport trips involve walk trips
  • roads designed for cars, buses are an afterthought
  • parking spaces well supplied
  • public transport services slower than driving
  • how to fund mixed use development – value capture.

Integrated planning of land use and transport can help addressing theses challenges. Car parking policy is a key area that needs to be addressed once a quality public transport service is provided – designing and regulating the appropriate level of on-street and off street parking supply and providing park and ride facilities at the periphery of the public transport system.

Public transport requires consolidated trip ends to so it can offer a effective transport system.  Land use planning is key to being able to achieve this.

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