Planning Portal

Transport Assessment
Stage 2: Influencing Travel to the Development: Scale

The scale of the development will also influence travel behaviour.  It will determine the size of the catchment area of the site and the likely modal split. Generally small developments tend to have small catchment areas, however, this depends on the use.  In good locations, easily accessible by walking and cycling, these modes could be used for a relatively large proportion of trips.
Generally the larger a development, the larger the catchment area and, as a result, the number and proportion of car trips. However this depends on competing opportunities. Larger developments however, may also provide the opportunity to improve public transport access, as they generate substantial passenger movements making it more economic to provide new public transport services or to divert existing services to the site.  It may also be easier to provide improved facilities for pedestrian and cycle access to larger developments since they have more space available for the necessary facilities.

Intensity of use

Planning policy requires that the location of key travel generating uses support more sustainable travel patterns. This means the maximum use of the most accessible sites and more intensive development at those sites with good walking, cycling and public transport accessibility.  

Mixed-use developments

Mixed-use development can also promote sustainable transport, particularly walking and cycling, by encouraging multi-purpose trips and reducing the overall distances travelled by car. For example:
  • larger housing developments can be designed to include shops or services within walking or cycling distance;
  • larger workplaces can include on-site shops and services, such as sandwich bars, to reduce the need for employees to travel at lunchtime and shared parking provision; and
  • hospitals and colleges can provide housing for students or key workers within easy walking/cycling distance.
Mixed-use developments can pose special problems for preparing Transport Assessments. Mixed-use development may not lead to less car use because people may not use the local services provided. They do provide opportunities for less car-dependent lifestyles. Calculating catchments and modal split to mixed-use developments will require judgements as to the likelihood of the attraction of the facilities provided on the site.
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