Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The Windscreen World of Land Use Transport Integration: Experiences from Perth, WA, a Dispersed City

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The Windscreen World of Land Use Transport Integration: Experiences from Perth, WA, a Dispersed City

Article excerpt

'Land use transport integration' has been part of planning ideology for decades. Today it is seen as a means of achieving sustainable travel outcomes. Despite the clear intentions of early planning policy, its selective implementation resulted in a low-density, dispersed city. Now the ability to reduce motorised travel and car kilometres is a major challenge given the spread of land use and scatter of activity across a very large metropolitan area. The 'love affair with the car' has seen a struggle for focus on access for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. But the more recent experience in the context of this dispersed city is promising, urban development is achieving some of the physical characteristics of land use transport integration with greatest progress made in recent years. At the neighbourhood scale there are small 'islands' of development change with a strong focus on achieving accessibility, proximity and creation of shared streets. At the metro/regional scale the focus is on extending the rail network, but city planning is still driven by 'car-centric' principles - the windscreen view of the world. Designing a transport system to compete with the car, rather than tailoring the demand for mobility by designing a different spatial land use pattern perpetuates hypermobility and automobility.

'Land use transport integration' (LUTI) has become something of a buzz phrase in the planning and transport fields, but an analysis of land use and transport policies shows that it has been part of planning ideology for decades. What changes is the approach to LUTI as the adverse consequences of past approaches are reconsidered. Today, LUTI is seen as a means of achieving sustainable travel outcomes, a message reinforced in the Australian context by the National Charter on Integrated Land Use and Transport Planning (DOTARS, 2003). A sustainable transport system is one which is more efficient, uses less energy and achieves better environmental quality (Reitveld and Stough, 2005), its goals include achieving a mode share with as few kilometres travelled by private car as possible (Bertolini and le Clercq, 2003).

This paper assesses the experience of land use transport integration in a dispersed city and evaluates its achievements. The evolution of LUTI ideas are tracked through four phases of planning for the Perth Metropolitan Region (PMR) in Western Australia: pre-planning; planning the compact city; dispersing the city; and integrating the city. The achievements are considered at two scales - metro/sub-regional and the neighbourhood. The PMR (population 1.4 million) provides a particularly interesting example of the type of approaches that have been applied in a dispersed low-density metropolis. Perth has a tradition of low-density residential development, currently about six dwellings per hectare gross (WAPC, 2003). There has been little to constrain its physical growth which has taken place principally in a coastal strip that extends some 130 kilometres north-south along the Indian Ocean (Fig. 1). Perth has an unenviable reputation of being defined as one of the most car-dependent cities. Car ownership and use are the highest of all Australian cities with 723 vehicles per thousand people.

This paper draws on an analysis of local transport and land use planning policy documents to establish the extent to which land use transport integration is, and has been, a key policy direction in Perth. A Delphi survey was employed whereby 14 independent local experts were asked to define the physical attributes of land use transport integration, and then to identify good and poor examples of places in the Perth metropolitan area. The experts represented a range of professional groups including town planners, urban designers, architects, transport engineers, transport economists, transport modellers, transport advocates and transport researchers. The author's reflections as a local practitioner (Schön, 1983) are drawn on, including experience from various state and local government advisory committees, research consultancies and bicycle advocacy. …

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