Evaluating the impact of policy: The built environment and travel behaviour
Melia, S. (2016) Evaluating the impact of policy: The built environment and travel behaviour. In: Spotswood, F., ed. (2016) Beyond Behaviour Change: Key Issues, Interdisciplinary Approaches and Future Directions. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 89-112. ISBN 9781447317555 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/27622
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This chapter will examine the impact of policies that change the built environment in order to influence travel behaviour. It reviews the contested debate around spatial planning and travel behaviour, focussing on city-wide urban intensification. It examines the impact of the urban intensification policies implemented by the UK Government between 2000 and 2011, using Census data and other Government statistics. The findings suggest (but do not prove) that the policy achieved its aim of promoting modal shift away from commuting by car. However, the differential restraint applied to housing and to employment in different parts of the country may have contributed to longer commuting distances. Another controversial area in the built environment-travel behaviour debate concerns the relationship between cycling infrastructure and cycling behaviour. The international evidence contains some apparent contradictions. Descriptive case studies and a natural experiment in the city of Seville in Spain suggest that expanding networks of cycle routes have increased rates of cycling in some cities and countries. Before-and-after small-scale evaluations of newly-built cycle routes suggest a very limited impact on travel behaviour, however. This apparent contradiction can be explained by the role of spatial, temporal and policy-related synergies. A framework of causal influences on rates of cycling is proposed, which helps to explain this apparent contradiction.
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