evidence bases

Pinpointing the value of urban realm activity

By Brian Fitzpatrick

Traditions of high quality engineering could, it can be argued, be more concerned with function than form. The result, in many cases, is well-engineered infrastructure that often fails to consider the wider implications of how it contributes to the aesthetic environment and the wider public realm. It’s clear that we need to better understand the relationship between increases in land and amenity value following urban realm investment and development, so that we can provide tools enabling a more focused dialogue between local authorities and potential development partners

The DfT rejects theory of ‘peak car’ and is forecasting road traffic in England to grow by 43% by 2040

The DfT has rejected the theory of ‘peak car’ and is forecasting road traffic in England to grow by 43% by 2040. Reflecting on the traffic forecasts, Phil Goodwin, professor of transport policy at the University of West of England, said: “If these forecast traffic growth rates are correct, they have a very important policy consequence. Congestion will increase and traffic speeds will fall for the foreseeable future, even if all the mooted capacity increases are delivered – both on the strategic network and even more so on local roads.”

The quest for better evidence in planning transport infrastructure: when will we explore facts instead of following big numbers?

By John Dales

In transport terms, there is, of course, a reasonable body of evidence suggesting strongly that creating more road capacity is often just as pointless an exercise. Traffic growth predictions can simply be big numbers that bludgeon common sense into submission. Yet recent UK reports, The Government's Action for Roads and London’s Roads Task Force, both seem to accept dubious 'estimates' whilst failing to procure real facts or robust evidence

We know what we like, so why don't we build it?

By John Dales

The reasons why we, as individuals, enjoy public space may be fairly easy to appreciate in broad terms, but we struggle to put numbers to them. This troubles decision-makers who fear anything that smacks of subjectivity or opinion, even if it’s an opinion that they and many others plainly share. By contrast, a report with numbers has the appearance of objectivity to those same decision-makers

HS2 must be combined with regional regeneration and improve connectivity to peripheral areas to be of real value

A planning expert has urged the Government to learn from France and integrate the delivery of high-speed rail with regional regeneration programmes and investments in local transport. Professor Peter Hall of University College London praised the French approach to high-speed rail

Walking trips plummet as active travel message fails to hit home

The number of walking trips made by Britons has fallen by more than a quarter since the mid-1990s, according to the new National Travel Survey. Cycling trips are down too, as are trips by car and bus. In fact, the only mode to buck the downward trend is rail.

Regenerative cities: the new normal

By Fiona Woo, World Future Council

Our understanding of the cities, whether in theory or practice, stands at a turning point. Urban areas across the world face complex and rapidly evolving challenges. But what are the changes we need to transform our cities into future-just and livable habitats? What does a city that inspires and engages citizens, governments and the public sector and private sectors to work together towards a common goal look like? Is “sustainable urban development” still the best concept to provide guidance for policy makers, urban planners, architects and investors in building the cities of the future?

Peak Car: all the evidence you can eat

By Phil Goodwin

A new collection of eight rather heavyweight papers which, taken together, give an update of the state of international research on ‘peak car’. We provide brief highlights....

The future of urban transport: ‘decide and provide’

The future of urban transport: ‘decide and provide’. The seminal publication Traffic in Towns is 50 years old. What has changed since 1963? What may by 2063? Are we getting it right?

Can we reinvigorate the case against roads as the DfT downplays peak car theory and supports additional road building

Why does policy change? RUDI's partner community, Local Transport Today (LTT), has pioneered the exploration of transport policy in relation to the renewed interest in road-building, not only as part of inter-urban transport policy but, thanks to London’s mayor, as a component of urban transport policy too. Can we reinvigorate the case against roads as the DfT downplays peak car theory and supports additional road building?