Planning for less travel : identifying land use characteristics associated with more sustainable travel patterns
This study examines the extent to which land use planning can influence travel and how it might be able to reduce the environmental impact of transport. Although other studies have examined this issue before, many have only examined the influence of a small number of land use characteristics and most have not taken account of socio-economic reasons for variations in travel in different areas. This study examines the influence of a range of land use characteristics on travel and takes into account a large number of socio-economic characteristics. It also examines whether the links between travel, socio-economic and land use characteristics have changed over time. The hypothesis of the study is that land use policies influence travel patterns even when differences in social and economic characteristics are taken into account. The study examines several sets of data containing information on travel, socio-economic characteristics and land use. Data from the National Travel Survey are examined to identify relationships between land use, socio-economic characteristics and travel patterns. Data from four separate National Travel Surveys are used to examine whether these relationships change over time. Data from two local travel surveys from Kent and Leicestershire are also used to provide a more detailed level of analysis. The data from the two local surveys also allow some comparison with the data from the National Travel Surveys. The relationships between land use, socio-economic characteristics and travel patterns are examined using multiple regression analysis. Although causal relationships cannot be identified in the absence of longitudinal data, the study does provide insights into possible interactions between land use, socio-economic characteristics and travel patterns. After identifying the land use characteristics associated with lower travel demand, the planning implications for reducing the demand for travel are considered. Issues of policy implementation including obstacles, barriers and responsibilities are discussed. The research contributes to knowledge about planning policies that promote more sustainable development. It focuses on a topic that might practically contribute to the search for indicators of sustainable development, the revision of government planning guidance on transport and land use planning and the formulation of the recently announced Urban White Paper. The research also identifies specific land use characteristics that might be used by local authorities in developing more sustainable planning policies. The results of the study show that the variation in travel patterns across different areas is often due more to socio-economic reasons than land use characteristics. However, land use planning is still likely to have a significant effect on influencing travel patterns, particularly if supported by complementary measures.