Urban mobility

An exploration of spatial planning aspects of urban mobility

While transport mobility is undeniably essential for the functioning of urban settlements, it has equally undeniable impacts. This report analyses mobility trends in urban districts and examines the spatial planning problems to which they give rise. The basis premise of the study is that with time our means of transport will become so clean, quiet and efficient that problems of air quality, noise nuisance and CO2 emissions will be a thing of the past. How would those developments affect mobility? And what problems would remain? The first question proved difficult to answer, as there will probably be a variety of conflicting consequences that are difficult to quantify. To answer the second question we first examined current patterns of mobility in urban districts and found a clear relationship between the degree of urbanisation of residential areas and the mobility of residents. The more urbanised the area (expressed as number of dwellings per km2) the less the average daily distance travelled and the less car ownership and use. Travel by train, on the other hand, increased. Overall in the Netherlands bus, tram and metro are declining in popularity, except in the densely populated centres of the main cities, where these forms of public transport are now used more than twice as much as elsewhere, with growth still continuing. As mobility continues to grow, so too will land use problems in the urban environment unless they are tackled by means of dedicated policy. They key problems are land take (particularly for roads and parking facilities), diminished accessibility, the ecological ‘barrier action’ of roads and parked vehicles, traffic safety and risks to residents. In tandem to this study, consultants Goudappel Coffeng looked into potential solutions to these problems. The results have been published in a Dutch-language report: ‘6+1 ruimtelijke opgaven voor de stedelijke regio’.

Study in Dutch language

Authors CE

Bettina Kampman

Delft, June 2004