Research project launched to see how planning can achieve net-zero transport

4th September 2020

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Three organisations are to work on a research project aimed at showing spatial planning's role in delivering net-zero transport.

LDA Design, City Science and Vectos have been commissioned by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) to focus on how increasing density, restricting car use, promoting mixed development and mobility hubs, and creating integrated active and public transport networks can help achieve the UK's net zero target.

The move comes ahead of the Committee on Climate Change's sixth carbon budget for the UK, due in December, which will set the path to achieving net zero carbon by 2050. The research will also support the Department for Transport's emerging decarbonisation plan by showing where planning can reduce emissions in different types of place.

The project will create fictional areas which represent typical places across England, from rural counties to city-regions. By using data and decarbonisation software, the team will model the carbon impact of different land uses, activities and transport modes, and consider how barriers to decarbonisation can be overcome.

The team will also consider the potential impact of Covid-19, and the role of planning policy and culture in ensuring that decarbonisation delivers wider benefits to health and wellbeing, inclusion and strategic green infrastructure.

RTPI policy and networks manager James Harris said changes to planning policy and patterns of infrastructure investment have so far failed to tackle transport emissions which remain stubbornly high.

“Over the coming decade we will need bold and ambitious spatial plans to reshape the built environment, helping to reduce the need to travel, and maximising the use of walking, cycling, public transport and shared mobility.

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