Sweden’s growth and employment is dependent upon attractive and competitive city regions. That is one of the reasons why “The Attractive City” project is undertaken. The project is a joint undertaking between the National Rail Administration, the National Board of Housing and the Swedish Road Administration in co-operation with the Municipalities of Jönköping, Norrköping and Uppsala and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.
In the project the focus is on laying the foundation for development, attitudes and regulatory systems that facilitates interaction between the private and public sectors, between the individual and the common cause, between different sectors and interest groups as well as between the national, regional and municipal perspectives.
The purpose of the study is to discuss the competing concepts of:
- Traffic integration and filtering of car traffic, with the traditional, mixed use urban street as the main object of interest,
- Differentiation and segregation of different types of traffic, with the hierarchical road system as the main system solution.
This is a literature study of the principles of urban transport network design.
The study looks at the international and Scandinavian professional debate about these two major concepts listed under “Objectives” above. It tries to distil the most important arguments of the debate, and to look into available theoretical and empirical evidence of the merits of the different principles and the various design solutions that have been proposed for the traffic system.
As the starting point of the analysis of the principles of urban transport network design, the project looks for solutions that will contribute to the development of a sustainable city and transport system. This means that car traffic volumes and speeds should be significantly reduced in comparison with existing cities and towns. An earlier study by the project’s author is used to define the more detailed environmental criteria against which the different solutions and network design principles may be evaluated. Then, literature on the effects of different design principles and traffic parameters is reviewed, in order to find the types of solutions that are most in line with the objectives of the sustainable and environment friendly city.
A literature review report was produced for use in the course of developing new planning advice for the design of roads and traffic systems in urban areas in Sweden.
Two traffic parameters are judged to be the most important; car traffic speed and the volume of car traffic, both in single streets and districts, and as a total for the urban region. The evidence about the importance of traffic speed and volume reductions was reviewed, as well as the means that can be applied to reach the desired results.
One of the conclusions is that there is a clear need for a combination of the principles of traffic integration and segregation, and that the use of only one of these principles for the design of the urban transport network would be counter-productive in relation to the objectives of the sustainable city.
The study concludes with a set of recommendations for the development of the sustainable city. The recommendations should be seen as qualified hypotheses about how the traffic system in urban areas – in particular the design of the road network – should be developed in order to contribute significantly to the future sustainability of cities. The study does not pretend to have the final answers, the authors believe that they have some good points for further discussion and more thorough analysis and empirical testing.
The concluding recommendations for the development and design of the sustainable city with an environment friendly transport network are, in brief:
- Define your goals;
- Create an urban land use and transport policy package to achieve the required traffic volumes and environmental qualities;
- Make use of information technology to control traffic volume, speed and character;
- Create a public transport oriented network designed to support sustainability and urban life;
- Segregate heavy and fast car traffic from urban life;
- Create a two-tier car network: Highways and traffic calmed urban roads and streets;
- Distinguish clearly between town and highway;
- Design urban roads for low speeds;
- Create an urban street network that improves the competitive advantages of environmentally-friendly modes;
- Give suburban and industrial areas more urban elements;
- Define environmental areas;
- Have a place and high quality transit oriented strategy for the old urban arterial streets;
- Create continuous routes if not in conflict with urban environment objectives;
- Use selective filtering of motorised traffic;
- Create a parking policy that improves the environmental areas and support environment friendly transport;
- Create more and bigger car-free zones;
- Upgrade significantly the role of park & ride and bike & ride.
Two suggestions for further work were made:
- Test the recommendations and document best practice;
- Create a popular summary report.