Transport planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

On 2 October 2023, our director David Milner and other experts gave evidence to the Department for Transport Science Advisory Council about how to use transport planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut traffic delays and congestion and reduce air pollution, traffic accidents and noise. You can now read the Science Advisory Council’s conclusions and more on the discussion here.

Their key recommendations were:

  1. There is a need for more robust datasets collating evidence that shows the effects of building sustainable transport networks and local facility provision into new developments.
  2. There is an opportunity to quantitatively evaluate how higher-density residential developments might play a role in supporting better quality public transport (including demand-responsive) services and a wider range of local community facilities.
  3. The tools used to estimate the trip/traffic generation of new sites and larger developments should be refined to reflect the connectivity and sustainable mobility provisions of a proposed development, and its likely impacts on travel patterns.
  4. Further evaluation is needed of the current incentive structures that motivate the various actors to promote largely car-dependent developments and identify pricing or regulatory changes that would help align commercial interests with other objectives around public health, net zero and quality of life.
  5. A study should be commissioned into the governance arrangements that underpin the land use planning process and its operation in practice, taking a broader systems view and accounting for the various private and public sector actors, at both local and national levels.
  6. The national planning policy framework should be reviewed to ensure it fully reflects the current science and evidence in support of delivering sustainable developments including recommending the DfT connectivity tool as a site-sifting mechanism.
  7. Training using the latest data and evidence should be provided to enable important actors to address sustainability considerations more effectively.

These themes have been covered in several of our reports and articles including Stepping off the Road to Nowhere, Move Free, Street Fight, Restitching our Social Fabric, Computer say Road and The Bin Lorry Effect.