45th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Land Use and Water Management in a Sustainable Network Society", 23-27 August 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This paper reviews recent changes to transport policy in the UK. This is discussed within the context of changes from policies of "predict and provide” to an integrated transport policy and the role of new knowledge on induced travel effects. New assessment procedures including the move towards Strategic Environmental Assessment and how this could best be practiced in the transport sector are discussed. These issues are viewed in terms of proposed ideal assessment procedures which would focus on the objectives of transport policy and how this is clearly linked to changes in accessibility and economic effects as shown by simple urban economic theory. A brief case study review of new assessment procedures in practice is provided with critical comments on whether these have led to improvements in decision making, especially from an environmental perspective as well as from stated government policy goals. Conclusions suggest that political considerations are a critical part of transport and environmental planning and that that while much research progress has been made in recent years to fully understand behavioural linkages, practical political realities remain critical for decision making.