F0.2 Integrated transport & land use planning

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At a glance

This Part of the Guidelines contains fit-for-purpose guidance for Australian practitioners of integrated transport and land use planning (ITLUP), a central feature of good planning. ITLUP addresses a city or region’s longer-term challenges, working to a shared vision of what a city or region aspires to be in the future, and coordinating investments and policy decisions to achieve that vision in an optimal manner.

The central focus of the Guidelines is on:

  • Acknowledging the traditional ‘cluster and connect’ model of ITLUP, which achieves integration at the district, corridor and local (suburb and neighbourhood) levels. This approach is already subject to significant guidance across urban design and structure planning, with relevant references provided here (chapter 7)
  • Explaining the emerging best practice approach to ITLUP in which ‘cluster and connect’ is complemented by a formal explicit recognition of the city shaping impact of some major transport infrastructure, and the harnessing of that impact and power (chapters 3, 6 and 7)
  • Distinguishing between strategic (that is, city shaping) structural/district and local/follower transport infrastructure (chapter 4) and explaining why a good understanding of their different influences on land use is essential to the new ITLUP approach.

The enhanced approach to ITLUP presented in this Part of the Guidelines aims to achieve:

  • Optimal urban structure (such as influencing the overall extent of the city and densities within it) through harnessing the city shaping power of strategic transport infrastructure to influence urban development
  • Optimal urban form at the district, corridor and local (suburb and neighbourhood ) levels through use of the ‘cluster and connect’ planning model.

The starting point for best practice ITLUP is a clear and compelling vision for the future structure of a city. This can include traditional metropolitan planning elements, spatial visioning and developing regulations relating to the location, type and density of development in line with the vision. It should also include support for wider policy levers outside traditional town planning and clear and aligned governance arrangements, including inter-jurisdictional relations. It should consist of a trilogy of plan making, wide-ranging implementation elements and governance to achieve a strategic vision of metropolitan planning.

The accessibility effects of strategic/city shaping transport initiatives can change a city’s development patterns and growth trajectory. This can change the decisions people and businesses make about where to locate, setting a new geography of land values. The market then signals where new and/or intensified urban development is warranted, creating a shift in urban form and, sometimes, structure. This means that strategic transport initiatives need to be conceptualised within the context of a preferred urban structure rather than a traditional approach where transport investment simply responds to demonstrated demand.

The Guidelines provide principles, processes, key questions and examples to guide effective ITLUP for strategic/city shaping transport initiatives as well as for structural and local infrastructure.

Rigorous assessment is particularly important for strategic/city shaping initiatives. Having demonstrated the city shaping impact of a transport initiative, practitioners need to measure whether this impact will help or hinder achievement of metropolitan settlement pattern objectives as set out in the spatial vision and/or strategic plan for the city.

One approach is to apply historically observed locational elasticities – the measured sensitivity of employment or population growth to changes in past levels of relative accessibility. The impacts of an initiative can also be quantified in relation to specific metropolitan objectives. This may include assessing trends such as land consolidation versus urban sprawl or the level of assistance offered by government to key metropolitan industry clusters and economic nodes to reinforce agglomeration economies. This Part provides guidance on assessing the impacts on housing densities and types, and land use transport interaction models.

Another important aspect of the assessment process is the appraisal of transport initiatives, particularly strategic initiatives. The key appraisal tool is cost benefit analysis (CBA). For a strategic transport initiative, a comprehensive ‘fully evolved’ CBA, while ideal, faces a range of challenges. If such an appraisal is not feasible, the iterative application of rapid and detailed CBA using land use impact scenario analysis is a useful alternative. The more qualitative multi-criteria analysis (MCA) can be a useful supporting tool that can be used prior to a CBA, at early stages of assessment when limited quantitative data is available for even a rapid CBA.

Various actions are required to optimise the city shaping power of transport infrastructure. The Guidelines discuss how they differ in brownfield and greenfield areas.

Effective coordination plays a particularly crucial role in ITLUP. Successful ITLUP requires coordination between planning for the three transport infrastructure types, and coordination in institutional settings and governance.