COMPUTER SAYS ROAD
Reflections on the impact of the Department for Transport’s Transport Appraisal Guidance
UDG @ Futurebuild 2022 3 March
Keynote: Do we need a below-ground national design guide?
Foundation Certificate in Urban Design endorsed by the UDG
LATEST NEWS + RESEARCH
Several deadlines this weekend!
Buckinghamshire Council | Clifton Emery Design | Origin3 | Savills Urban Design Studio | Sevenoaks District Council | Sheffield City Council | Urban Green
Computer Says Road - Challenging the Transport Appraisal Guidance
The Department for Transport’s Transport Appraisal Guidance has been criticised for many years over its bias towards road-based infrastructure, and failure to adequately value the benefits of active travel, or the damage caused to the climate and public health that result from car dependency.
A new paper written by David Milner of Create Streets, and reported in the Guardian identifies five issues:
- The wrong models: existing traffic modelling, so called ‘Predict and Provide’ is outdated and based on flawed, oversimplified solutions
- Valuing algorithms over expertise: decision makers treat traffic models as a fact rather than an opinion
- Valuing traffic congestion over everything else: the Department for Transport’s cost-benefit analysis tool known as ‘Transport Analysis Guidance’ (TAG) fails to value social and environmental benefits and costs, and overvalues travel time
- Valuing commuters over everyone else: we value the pre-Covid peak-hour commuter ahead of the school run and design developments for infrequent events
- Failing to consider systemic impacts: our transport infrastructure is a series of expensive disjointed projects
Examples taken from the Transport Appraisal Guidance
Examples of external costs used
Severe road congestion: 57.2 pence per km travelled
Excess noise: 0.1 pence per km
Air quality: 0.5 pence per km
Greenhouse gases: 2.8 pence per km
Do these adequately reflect the damage done to the environment, or to people’s wellbeing?
Valuation of time
Non-work related journeys: £4.54 per hour
Commuting journeys: £9.95 per hour
Are these values justifiable, or equitable?
Because commuters are more likely to be male and car users, the effect is to discriminate against non-car users who are more likely to be less well-off, female, young, elderly or disabled. The use of these different values appears to be in breach of the two core statutory duties in the 2010 Equality Act.
S1 Social Economic Equalities Duty
S1. An authority to which this section applies must, when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise its functions, have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.
S149 Public Sector Equality Duty
This requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, and to advance equality of opportunity among protected groups eg. age, gender, disability, race
Due regard has a specific legal meaning - it is not a matter of ticking a box saying that one has thought about something, but an essential preliminary to a decision necessitating a substantial, vigorous and open minded approach; where consideration is given to measures to avoid adverse impact before fixing on a solution. See Ali v Newham 2012.
The Equality Act has been used before to amend decisions on transport infrastructure. In January West Sussex County Council reinstated a withdrawn cycle lane following an Equality Act challenge.
There are deeper questions posed by the use of the method, including the way it treats the environment, in effect as a tradeable commodity, and in the valuation of human life: that a life today is worth more than a life in the future, something that defies one of the most basic principles of sustainability: the principle of intergenerational equity.
With so much development taking place that is ringed and penetrated by large highways that resemble 1950s style trunk roads, and that lack adequate active travel or public transport infrastructure, many people will conclude that this system is failing today’s generation, and future generations.
Do we need a below-ground national design guide?
Thursday 3 March @ 10:15-11:00
Part of Futurebuild 2022 at ExCel London
FREE - pre-registration required
The Urban Design Group curates keynote session at Futurebuild 2022
Much of the ‘placemaking’ making and working infrastructure that creates value above ground depends on how we manage the spaces below ground. Our design and management of the ‘underworld’ to date has not been impressive, and is preventing us from creating the towns and cities that can face up to the challenges ahead.
- Street trees essential for climate change adaptation and mitigation that need undisturbed root-space – difficult when below ground the space is crowded-out with pipes and cables
- Underground waste management systems that allow streets to be kept clear and unobstructed by bins and bags
- Street-based SuDS to tackle the greatly increased run-off due to climate change
- Grey water recycling and distribution systems
- Upgrading of drainage systems to enable sewage effluent and rainwater run-off to be handled and treated separately and to bring an end to the pollution of rivers with sewage spills
- Upgrading electricity cabling to allow a transition to clean energy
- Gas distribution networks upgraded to enable the distribution of hydrogen
- District heating and cooling pipes, plus ground source heating and cooling
And so on…
This session will look at how a ‘national model design guide’ for below-ground could improve the situation for the future and what changes to legislation and regulation would be needed to achieve this necessary change.
A vital topic for all engaged in working on places, buildings and environments for people and nature.
- Robert Huxford Urban Design Group
- Nicole Metje University of Birmingham
- Jim Smith Forestry Commission
- Katja Stille Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design | UDG Chair
Looking for a short course in Urban Design?
3-Day Comprehensive Foundation Certificate in Urban Design
Endorsed by the Urban Design Group
20-22 June 2022 | Newcastle-upon-Tyne
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Other Non-UDG Events
Masterclass: Shaping Liveable Neighbourhoods: Delivering well-designed, higher density neighbourhoods
Tuesday 15 March 2022 @ 9:30-12:00
Masterplanning now and into the future
Wednesday 23 March @ 13:30-14:30
- Sarah Murray, Edge Urban Design
- Adrian Bower, ADP Architecture
- Paul Comeford, Prior & Partner
- Thomas Corbin, Prior & Partner
Free to BOB-MK members
Non-members £75 for one place or two places for £100
News + Research
Proposal for New York State Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act
The Act would mandate for “complete streets”, and allow New York municipalities to set their speed limits below state-mandated minimums.
Neom: What's the green truth behind a planned eco-city in the Saudi desert?
How we should transform the design of care homes and accommodation for elderly people
Do larger builds lead to less-liveable cities?
Disabled people risk being ‘left out’ of post-pandemic urban design, report reveals
Breakthrough in using quantum level technology opens up possibility of accurately mapping the spaces beneath our streets
Digital platforms (apps and websites), COVID-19 and the reshaping of urban mobility
A review of recent trends by researchers at the University of Manchester
"A digital platform is an app or website where information, goods and services are exchanged by a provider and the user. While platforms are diverse, it is the data generated which is generally considered the most valuable or useful resource. Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo are examples of digital platforms."
In recent years, digital mobility platforms have emerged offering ‘on-demand’ services in cities where mobility was traditionally organised around public transport and private cars. Platforms such as Uber, Lime and Citymapper focused on urban centres where they compete or collaborate with established operators. In the pandemic, ride-hailing companies such as Grab were able to rapidly switch function from passenger to delivery services. Digital platforms played a key role in enabling many to work from home, reducing the need for urban travel. Zoom saw daily users jump from 10 million to 300 million in spring 2020. Questions follow…
- Will dense city centres continue to be the priority for infrastructure investment?
- What should be the response to an increasingly fragmented urban landscape of work, mobility and transport provision?
- Should the digital platforms that support urban mobility be privately or publicly owned and managed?
Humans, Health, Society
Ambient Heat and adverse impact on Mental Health
Case-study finds days of extreme heat were associated with higher rates of mental health related emergency department visits.
Police in New Zealand use Barry Manilow music to disperse protesters
Us and the music we listen to
Study examines what drives our musical tastes
What's special about singing?
MIT neuroscientists identify a population of neurons in the human brain that respond to singing but not other types of music or speech.
Where Words Fail: Teach Architects and Urban Designers Like Violinists
Architects and urban designers justify or explain their work with words, and municipalities govern design with jargon-filled regulations. The outcome is often underwhelming.
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture
Is it possible to explain one art form using another?
Why Toronto's plan to build a rail deck development is not being embraced by all
Bogota continues to make progress in sustainable transportation
Coventry Canal Village
Public transport in some of the UK’s biggest cities is the most expensive in Europe, new research has revealed
Legal right to nature should be part of the levelling-up agenda
UK wildlife campaigners launch petition
Update from Paul Altman
Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets
The Engineers Ireland in association with the RIAI and the Irish Planning Institute are holding a series of free one-hour webinars starting at noon on Thursday afternoons on the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Street (DMURS)
There have been two webinars held already and recordings are to be available on the Engineers Ireland website, as well as the form for booking for the six further webinars
Design Manual for Social Housing
The recently published Design Manual is available to download. The sample site layouts included in this Manual set out the urban design and placemaking priorities, consistent with compact growth, to assist in the delivery of high-quality and sustainable housing developments.
Better mobility design can encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking
Are the New Smart Cities planned for South Africa worth the investment?
Opportunities: UDG Careers Board
Landscape Architect / Urban Designer | Buckinghamshire
Clifton Emery Design
Assistant Urban Designer / Landscape Architect | Exeter
Senior / Associate Urban Designer | Bristol
Savills Urban Design Studio
Associate Director / Director | London
Savills Urban Design Studio
Senior / Associate Urban Designer | Oxford
Sevenoaks District Council
Urban Design Officer | Sevenoaks
Sheffield City Council
Design Officer | Sheffield
Sheffield City Council
Principal Design Officer | Sheffield
Urban Designer | Manchester
For more details visit the UDG jobs board