Our cities are shaped by where people live, work, learn, shop and play and how they travel around. This is important because ABS indicate that 71% of Australians live in major cities.
Integrating land use and transport is vital to sustaining the economy, social interaction and minimising the impact on the environment.
On the other hand the efficiency and effectiveness of transport depends on thoughtful land use planning. Transport connectivity is critical to ensure the best use of community resources.
The Smart Growth approach promotes compact, transit-oriented urban communities that are attractive and liveable, with an emphasis on sustainability. A key to smart growth is reducing the overall cost of transport infrastructure and services.
This requires both transport and planning professionals to consider reducing the need to travel, reducing the number and length of trips and reducing car dependance.
As the National Charter for Integrated Transport and Land Use states "by shaping the pattern of development and influencing the location, scale, density, design, and mix of land uses, planning can help to facilitate an efficient transport and land use system ..."
Roads are a dominant, cost-effective and important component of public infrastructure in Australian cities. Not only do roads provide for traffic, public transport, freight, cycling and walking, they are also provide easements for water, energy and communications services.
There are often debates about the merits of building roads - but roads cater for many modes, as by far the greatest proportion of public transport in most Australian cities is carried by bus.
Planners need to coordinate land use and road planning, considering the total transport system required.
Tools such as road hierarchy and design features can reinforce the broader functions of roads and streets. Road hierarchies enable the consideration of the competing roles of transport – mobility vs access.
The three questions that need to be considered should be:
1. How much capacity is required?
2. How should road space be allocated and managed?
3. What design features should be considered for modal priorities?
This is based on the key premise that communities should be places for people, and roads and streets are shared thoroughfares and need to cater for the broader community needs, not just moving traffic.
The SmartRoads tool, originally developed by VicRoads, is a good example of the application of these concepts.