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Derivation of the Relationship between Land-Use, Behaviour Patterns and Travel Demand for Political and Investment Decisions

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

Land-use planning measures are perceived as an important means of influencing transport demand and trip patterns in the long-term. However, relatively little is known about the quantitative effects of such measures, nor about the converse effects of transport system investments on the development of land-use patterns.


SESAME aimed to provide city planners with a common set of indicators and methods to facilitate more effective decisions on land-use and mobility policies. From a research point of view, the indicators were intended to support cross-city comparisons, in order to reach a more robust hypotheses and better validation of statistical relationships between indicators.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


SESAME has provided:

  • a recommended set of indicators on transport and land-use;
  • a sample database of values for those indicators, covering 40 European cities;
  • analysis of the relationships between indicators;
  • recommendations concerning data collection methods and policy measures.

The main findings concerning land-use/transport interactions are as follows:

  • Use of modes: the car faces strong competition from non-motorised modes, particularly in the city centre and for trips of less than 5 km. Lower population densities and a higher concentration of jobs in sub-centres tend to increase the use of the car relative to public transport. Small cities have a higher share of car use than larger cities.
  • Public transport provision: the level/frequency of service in public transport has a strong effect in increasing patronage and decreasing the use of private cars. The length of public transport lines is not the key issue.
  • Vehicle ownership: car ownership per household is strongly correlated with car use. A similar relationship holds for bicycle ownership and use.

Recommendations about data collection mainly concern availability, harmonisation and zoning:

  • Travel demand surveys should be harmonised to, include all age groups, weekends and the separate transport modes, and should be repeated every five years.
  • Data are needed concerning the travel behaviour of people coming from outside the urban area.
  • Public transport suppliers should use a single definition for vehicle-kilometres, with a tram or train defined as a single vehicle.
  • Improved data are needed on parking places.
  • Data about the built-up surface should be collected on the basis of a common definition.

Policy implications

Provision of new transport infrastructure clearly affects the pattern of travel and therefore urban form. SESAME has shown that the supply of primary road kilometres is associated with a higher share for cars in the modal split. In contrast, cities actively promoting public transport seem to be achieving higher shares for this mode. SESAME has particularly pointed to the benefit of improving service levels, without the need for additional service lines to encourage a modal switch. Strategies such as benchmarking and the provision of better information can be effective low-cost measures in this respect.


Cities with parking management and traffic calming policies seem to be associated with a lower share of car use. Cycle promotion policies have been found to have had a similar effect in the cities studied.


One of the major outputs of SESAME has been to illustrate the relationship between urban form and mode use. Mode share is especially related to city density, the concentration of urban activities and the concentration of jobs in sub-centres. City planners therefore have a powerful means of influencing mobility through their control of new developments.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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