Reference: UG556

Last update: 14/08/2013 10:03:40


The objective of this research is to identify and quantify the applicaiton of Planning Policy Guidance and its impact on road traffic and congestion.

A key part of this guidance is PPG13, which deals with the transport implications of planning. The objectives are as follows:

 To promote more sustainable transport choices for both people and for moving freight
 To promote accessibility to jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services by public transport, walking and cycling.
 To reduce the need to travel, especially by car.


The project is intended to strengthen the evidence base for the impacts of planning policy on road traffic volumes and congestion. As well as producing illustrative example case studies of the transport effects of planning policy.

The project will produce quantitative relationships between land use development and transport demand, which will feed into the Department's transport models.


WSP Civils
Wade Road, Basingstoke, Basingstoke, RG24 8NE

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £269,129.00

Actual start date: 06 August 2003

Expected completion date: 31 December 2004


Author: WSP
Publication date: 26/06/2007
Source: WSP
More information:

Summary of results

  1. Analysis of the National Travel Survey and Census data has shown:
    . There is a strong inverse relationship between settlement size and the car miles travelled per resident. This spatial effect persists even after allowing for the influence of socio-economic and demographic factors, e.g. high income residents tend to travel furthest and live in low density areas.
    . High employment densities, on the other hand, are not found to be associated with lower car commuting mileage, except in Central and Inner London.
    Commercial floorspace data from the VOA suggests that:
    . Since 2001, retail development has tended to locate in larger towns and cities. New offices, however, have concentrated in a limited number of areas, but not necessarily confined to town centres. So far there is little evidence of the impact of PPG13 on office locations.
    . The concentration of new offices into specific areas within some sub-regions is in contrast to the more widespread development of homes. This has worsened the geographic imbalance between jobs and the labour force, leading to longer commuting patterns.
    With respect to housing growth between 1991 and 2001, the Census shows:
    . Growth overall in dwelling numbers was fastest in low density areas distant from the main public transport nodes and employment centres.
    . The Census data only presents the net dwelling change over the decade, so that changes that may have started to emerge after the introduction of PPG13 in 1994 cannot be separated out from contrary trends earlier in the decade.
    Further evidence collected in the case studies shows that:
    . PPG3 and PPG13 have had an impact on the location of housing
    . A higher proportion of housing has recently been built within urban centres and at planned growth nodes
    . Given that development lead times are typically long and new housing each year accounts for only 1% of stock, a consistent, long term policy approach is required in order to make a difference.