Growing cities and building resilience: Transportation

Disruptive new technologies may soon change our transport environment completely. How do we plan transport for an unclear future?

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Developing resilient urban transport

Growing populations place additional pressure on all transport networks, reducing capacity and challenging their resilience, particularly in urban spaces.

However, car use - long assumed to rise with prosperity and population - peaked and declined in urban areas, even before the recession. City-focused rail patronage has boomed.

Some major cities have introduced demand management measures – such as congestion charges and pedestrianised zones - to reduce use of private vehicles in city centres and encourage more people onto public transport and active travel. This can help preserve network capacity, and reduce emissions in built up areas. But new technologies – such as autonomous vehicles - may soon change our transport landscape beyond recognition.

There is no single way forward for cities, but future-proofed and forward-looking transport planning and investment will be crucial to supporting growing populations and underpinning sustainable growth.

Conversely, other proposed models seek to minimise transport requirements at source, rather than increasing transport network capacity. The "Complete Neighbourhood" model focuses on localised provision of job and amenities – including recreation space, shopping and education.

There is no single way forward for cities, but future-proofed and forward-looking transport planning and investment will be crucial to supporting growing populations and underpinning sustainable growth.


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What are the challenges?

Our Urbanisation green paper identified a number of key questions that must be resolved in order to deliver world class transport facilities to our cities.

  • How do we create a future-proof transport network without closing the door to emergent technologies?
  • Are we prepared for the knock-on effects of changing transport systems on other infrastructure networks?
  • Can, or should, the future ever be car-free - even in cities?
  • How far should we be planning transport capacity to meet growing demand? Or should we simply 'build it and they will come'?

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What do the experts think?

To stimulate debate on these questions, ICE has canvassed a range of built environment experts and curated a number of resources to help inform your thinking. To find out more about these opinions, simply click on a resource below.

It is vital that we receive your input, and this will be used to shape our future outputs and ICE's answers to these challenges.

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Join the debate

Do you agree with the experts? Or do you have a different vision of what our future transport networks should look like? Or do you have a good case study you want to highlight? Let us know in the comments section below!

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