Transport infrastructure and sustainability: a new planning and assessment framework
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Purpose – Transport infrastructure is fundamental for economic development and for enabling cities to shift away from unsustainable automobile dependence. These agendas are coming together but the tools and processes to create less automobile-dependent cities are not well developed. The purpose of this paper is to suggest how the planning and assessment process can help to achieve this goal of integration. Design/methodology/approach – Understanding how cities are shaped by transport priorities through urban fabric theory creates an approach to the planning and assessment process in transport and town planning that can help achieve the purpose. Findings – Four tools are developed from this theory: first, a strategic framework that includes the kind of urban fabric that any project is located within; second, benefit cost ratios that include wider economic benefits, especially agglomeration economies in each fabric; third, avoidable costs that assess lost opportunities from the kind of urban development facilitated by the infrastructure chosen; and finally, value capture opportunities that can help finance the infrastructure if they are used to create walking and transit fabric. Research limitations/implications – Detailed application to the standard transport and town planning tools should now proceed to see how they can be adapted to each urban fabric, not just automobile city fabric. Practical implications – Recognising, respecting and rejuvenating each fabric can be implemented immediately. Social implications – Urban lifestyle choices are best understood by estimating the potential demand for each market and building to these. Originality/value – The urban fabric tools outlined provide the best way of integrating sustainable development goals into how cities are planned and transport projects are assessed.
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