Is it time to overhaul the transport planning system?

This month has seen the transport industry call for an overhaul in the planning and development of new travel systems. The new approach would ensure that when developing new systems, planners take into account the effect of the total environmental impact of the new infrastructure instead of only registering the direct emissions from the increased traffic.

Changes in the UK

In the UK all aspects of transport are constantly being updated and reviewed. The issues that transport planners face include higher demands placed on ageing infrastructure services due to a booming population, and an increase in the requirement or necessity to travel. The effects of meeting these demands can be seen in the still-growing number of vehicles on the road, despite investment and promotion of alternative methods of travel.

Part of the need to revolutionise transport systems comes from the results of these increased transport levels: here are just a few of the infrastructure consequences.

  • The plans for a new, London-based airport, or a third Heathrow runway, are a consequence of increased demand for flights. Building a third runway will involve planning for the extra traffic – both from travellers and from companies servicing the airport – that this plan will generate.
  • The need for greater connectivity between the North and South of England, and the greater demand for faster train travel is being met by plans for HS2. Again, there’s no clear indication that this will reduce road travel and, because this is such a long-term project, planners will still need to look at the road system in the meantime.
  • Out-of-town developments and new town developments all result in increased traffic, and as the government and local authorities look for new sites for hundreds of thousands of necessary new homes, the impact on the road and public transport system will have to be a key consideration.

How clear traffic data can help

Infrastructure has to be in place in order to meet the increased demand of both public and private services. Transport planners rely on traffic information from all sectors in order to create a system that is the most effective, in terms of cost, resources, environmental impact, and usability. Traffic information comes in all shapes and sizes, from the level of traffic at peak times to providing data on road users and infrastructure wear and tear.

If you’re interested in road traffic data surveys and would like to know more, contact me today.

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