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Using the land-use planning process to secure travel plans: an assessment of progress in England to date

Rye, Tom; Green, Corinna; Young, Emma; Ison, Stephen G


Tom Rye

Corinna Green

Emma Young

Stephen G Ison


A travel plan is a package of measures implemented by an organisation to encourage people who travel to/from that organisation to do so by means other than driving alone by private car. This paper advances two principal arguments: firstly, that the planning system and maximum parking standards as part of it are the main factors leading to travel plan development in England today; and, secondly, that the difficulties of using the planning system in this way means that there is a risk that many of these travel plans are unlikely to have a great deal of influence on travel patterns, making it more unlikely that they will achieve the predicted impact on travel behaviour change, as contained in the important study and report “Smarter Choices” (Department for Transport, 2004).

This paper presents results from a survey of planning and transport authorities in England, which obtained a 62% response rate from the 139 authorities contacted. It also uses the results of 18 interviews with local authority and Highways Agency staff involved in securing travel plans through the planning process. The survey found that the planning process (as opposed to voluntary efforts) is indeed the main means by which travel plans are now secured. In addition, maximum parking standards were shown to have a major influence on travel plan formation for organisations going through the planning process. There are however reasons to doubt that all of the travel plans secured through the planning process are effective. This is because:

• Many local authorities use only planning conditions and not the more flexible (but complex) obligations which would allow more complex travel plans to be secured.

• There is a lack of monitoring of travel plans in many authorities.

• There is evidence that in many authority areas there are travel plans in breach of legal agreements, but these breaches are not enforced, reportedly due to a lack of monitoring, resources, and other organisational issues.

The paper discusses the reasons for these findings and also makes a number of suggestions as to how the planning system could be improved as a means of securing travel plans


Rye, T., Green, C., Young, E., & Ison, S. G. (2011). Using the land-use planning process to secure travel plans: an assessment of progress in England to date. Journal of Transport Geography, 19, 235-243.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011-03
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2011
Print ISSN 0966-6923
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Pages 235-243
Keywords Travel plans; planning process; travel behaviour; parking standards;
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