Transport planning is a discipline that examines the needs and effects of travel. Transport planning has facets ranging from strategic models that seek to simulate vehicle movement on a national scale, for strategic decision making, through to planning for individual developments or highway improvements.
When applying for planning permission, the question that is asked by the highway authority is: “What are the effects of placing a residential development in a location?” At the planning stage of a development the local highway authority requires satisfaction that the needs identified by this question have been considered in order for them to advise the planning authority that they have no objection.
With 20 years’ experience in Transport Planning, Inspire Design and Development Ltd has the knowledge and expertise to meet those needs, undertaking detailed transport assessments, plans and statements. At initial stage of an assessment, we examine the existing highway environment and undertake a review of this, in the context of its ability to cater for additional traffic. This includes a basic review of the area surrounding the site, as well as an investigation of personal injury accident data to ascertain existing highway safety issues.
Traditionally, the transport assessment (formerly known as the Traffic Impact Assessment or TIA) focused upon the effect of car traffic and the document established likely travel patterns and routing and was then able to quantify the potential effect of the proposed development upon the nearby highway network. In more recent years the TIA transformed into the Transport Assessment which allows us to additionally examine the trips taken by other modes, such as on foot, cycling and public transport. This examines accessibility of services and subsequent access to facilities, such as education, employment, health etc.
When looking at an employment development, we undertake considerations of a similar but different nature. How will the development be serviced? What will be the scale of vehicles arriving at the site (size of vehicle / quantity)? When will they operate and where will the workforce live and travel from? All of which are answered in our transport assessment.
It is clear that, year on year, the road network gets busier and every road and junction has a finite capacity. Junctions that 5 years ago operated with ease begin to queue and improvements are required to open up the bottleneck, which presents more traffic, quicker at the next junction, exacerbating the problem there. In the post war years, the solution was always to predict demand and provide the road. The problem with this approach was that when capacity was provided it would fill, and the same remains true today. The majority of occupants could travel in a more efficient manner, taking up less road space, by walking, cycling or using public transport. However our own cars are comfortable, convenient and provide our own space so it has to be attractive offer to persuade someone to give up their car and walk, cycle or ride public transport.
To reverse this trend requires education, and it also requires incentive. In recent years, development planning applications over a certain scale usually require the associated submission of a travel plan, which we can also provide.
We can complete detailed travel plans which review current travel patterns in the area. This then presents a plan of measures that the developer agrees to implement over a 5 year period following planning approval to encourage a shift from single occupancy vehicle travel, to sustainable modes of transport. We can identify measures which are tailored to the development type, the location and more importantly the end user. We are fully aware that driving a car is convenient and direct, so to compete with the car, the incentives need to be in place. Measures such as the provision of bus passes (saving money), car sharing clubs (a lift with a friend, not someone you don’t know), preferential car share parking (closer to entrances / guaranteed spaces), walking clubs (someone to chat to on your journey and provide safety in numbers) all help to remove barriers and make sustainable travel more attractive.