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The Traffic Generation Game

"There is no guarantee that greater mobility leads to greater satisfaction" (OECD, 1977, The Future of European Passenger Transport, Paris)

A brief analysis of the urban transport problem is followed by 21 suggested policies, most of which relate to better integration of land use and transport.

The book has a foreword by John (now Lord) Prescott, but it was to be another 5 years before he was in a position to act upon its recommendations. The subsequent integration of the ministries responsible for transport, environment and planning can be seen as a positive outcome, although it was short lived.

For a full discussion of the way the ministries were structured over time see the article by Dr Mark Beecroft (pdf to the right).

The policies suggested by Tim Pharoah are summarised below. The full text of the Traffic Generation Game chapter of the book is in the pdf to the right.

Twenty five years on, there is not much I would want to change in the list! Progress has been made on some of these policies, such as the sequential test for new development, and greater emphasis on city centre revival.

Summary of suggested policies

1.    Compact city forms, and a presumption against out-of-centre developments.

2.    New urban development based on a hierarchy of transport modes and economic functions, including public transport oriented development.

3.    Mixed use to reduce travel distances, especially for daily local needs.

4.    Major generators of passenger trips permitted only at focal points of the public transport system, and with car parking strictly limited.

5.    Distribution depots located close to the major road network.

6.    Strategic plans identify a hierarchy of employment and service centres, together with a strategy for them to function without the car.

7.    Transport issues fully integrated within the planning system. (Development applications tend to be assessed in terms of their impact on a local road network in the short term, rather than on the urban form in the longer term.)

8.    An "accessibility audit" undertaken of all developments involving a change in the use of land. Inaccessibility by certain groups of users to be a ground for refusal.

9.    New transport and land-use developments to be the subject of an environmental audit, and refused where agreed pollution limits would be exceeded as in Switzerland.

10.    Strategic planning authorities should have overall control over the pattern, quality, frequency and price of urban public transport services, and be responsible for their integration and marketing.

11.    Transport tax, investment, subsidies and transfer payments should be reviewed and amended to encourage environmentally and socially benign modes of travel, and to penalise other modes in relation to the damage they cause.

12.    Incentives for rail freight and break- bulk depots should be increased.

13.    Research is required into homeworking and other potential means of reducing physical travel using electronic communications.

14.    Heavy investment in the quality of public transport, coupled with dis-incentives to use private transport. The priority should be the improvement of intra-rather than inter-urban public transport.

15.    There should be a substantial shift of expenditure priorities away from provision of road capacity to investment in non-car methods of travel.

16.    Policies to limit traffic should be aimed first at regular longer-distance car trips, such as car commuting trips to inner and central city locations.

17.    Interchanges, vehicles and other transport facilities should be developed as a means of encouraging multi-modal transport.

18.    Higher car purchase tax and/or other disincentives to multiple car ownership are required.

19.    A major investment programme to implement traffic calming measures should be undertaken.

20.    The general non-urban speed limit should be reduced from 70 to 55 mph, and enforced using electronic surveillance.

21.    Comprehensive controls over parking provision and enforcement are required.

Chapter TitleThe Traffic Generation Game
Chapter AuthorNicholas James and tim Pharoah
Book TitleTravel Sickness
Book AuthorJohn Roberts, Johanna Cleary, Kerry Hamilton, Judith Hanna
PublisherLawrence & Wishart, London 1992
ISBN0 85315 748 0


Integrated transport and land use, public transport oriented development, transit oriented development, traffic limitation, sustainable transport, compact city,