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Tuesday, September 10, 2019


By John Pucher and Ralph Buehler

The formerly socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe have experienced profound political and economic changes since the demise of Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Each country has its own particular history of transformation to a freer, more democratic, more market-based society. The timing and specific circumstances of the revolutions in each country vary. Even today, there are considerable differences among countries in the extent to which their political systems are fully democratic and how market-based their economies are. Thus, it is a bit risky to generalize about this group of diverse countries.
Without exception, however, every formerly socialist country in Central and Eastern Europe has at least moved toward greater democracy and greater market orientation. In every country, that political economic shift has produced a corresponding transport revolution. The most obvious indicator of that revolution is the dramatic growth in levels of private car ownership and use, and a corresponding decline in public transport use. The modal shift in passenger transport is mirrored in most countries by similar changes in goods transport, with substantial shifts from publicly owned and operated rail transport to privately owned and operated trucking firms. While the increasing reliance on roadway transport had already started during the later years of the socialist era, the movement toward market-based capitalism greatly accelerated it, prompted by striking changes in government transport policies. Indeed, a key thesis of this overview is that policy changes were responsible for virtually all of the enormous changes observed in Central and Eastern Europe from 1988 through the 1990s, demonstrating how crucially policies affect every aspect of our transport systems.
This review focuses on three Central European countries for detailed analysis: the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. We also include the former East Germany, whose political, economic, social, and transport systems dramatically changed after German reunification in 1990. Those four formerly socialist countries have the most reliable long-term series of transport statistics, enabling better analysis of their transport systems, travel behavior, and policies. Moreover, they are typical of developments in other Central and Eastern European countries as well, with most transport trends being in the same direction even if the magnitudes vary from one country to another. This overview is limited mainly to urban passenger transport, although we briefly note developments in long-distance passenger travel and goods transport as well.


More about transport policy:

Healthy cities — walkability as a component of health-promoting urban planning and design

Policies for Sustainable Accessibility and Mobility in Urban Areas of Africa

Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form

Sustainable Transport and Climate Change: Environmentally Experiences and lessons from community initiatives



Monday, September 9, 2019

Urban travel characteristics in relation with jobs-housing balance and accessibility: results of a survey in Lahore, Pakistan

By Sheikh Atif Bilal Aslam, Houshmand E. Masoumi, and Syed Arif Hussain

The circumstances of the relations of jobs-housing balance and urban travel behavior are not clear in emerging and developing countries. There are limited reliable data suitable for testing the hypotheses regarding the associations of the neighborhood-level number of employment opportunities in these countries. This manuscript summarizes the results of an explorative survey undertaken in Lahore, Pakistan to support empirical analyses testing these hypotheses. The survey was undertaken in spring 2018 in six neighborhoods of Lahore and collected the data of 417 respondents. The short questionnaire applied in the survey facilitated generation of 15 individual and household, socioeconomic, and mobility-related variables of different types. Moreover, 9 land use variables as well as jobs-housing ratios were estimated for each respondent within his/her 600-meter street-network pedestrian shed. The produced dataset reveals preliminary descriptive statistics about the relations of employment and travel behavior, particularly commuting, in a less-studied context of Pakistan. It is found that a decent job-housing balance at neighborhood scale alone cannot affect the travel pattern much in the Pakistani context. It needs to be supplemented with other planning interventions, mainly the accessibility to an integrated and efficient mass public transportation system, discouraging private car based policies and promotion of sustainable non-motorized travel modes. In the future, production of disaggregate mobility and land use data will add value to urban transportation research in the Global South.
Street of Lahore
More papers about urban transportation in Asian cities:

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Healthy cities — walkability as a component of health-promoting urban planning and design

By Minh-Chau Tran

 Health impairments due to inactivity are related to the car-oriented urban development of recent decades, along with sedentary lifestyles. A health-maintaining environment must therefore not only reduce direct health risk factors (pathogenic concept), but also contribute to health chances that may indirectly support health (salutogenic concept). Walking has been identified as the most influenceable behavior; it is also the most environmental-friendly mode of transport, social and health. From the planning view, the concept of walkability therefore aims at a built environment facilitating physical activity. It is increasingly recognized that walkability has become an important topic in the field of planning, urban design and health, since the built environment affects certain behaviors. From practice, concrete guidance is demanded as to the type of urban design features to be captured or applied to evaluate the walkability or to create active cities. The measurement of features of the built environment plays a special role in this context, but also the question of how research results can reach policies as well as planning and building practice.

Pedestrian Streets

More about walkability:

Active Mobility: Bringing Together Transport Planning, Urban Planning, and Public Health

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Active Mobility: Bringing Together Transport Planning, Urban Planning, and Public Health

By Caroline Koszowski, Regine Gerike, Stefan Hubrich, Thomas Götschi, Maria Pohle1, Rico Wittwer

Active mobility is related to various positive effects and is promoted in urban planning, transport planning, and in public health. The goals of these three disciplines differ in many respects but have a strong overlap in the ambition to foster active mobility. Until now, efforts for strengthening active mobility have typically not been combined, but rather promoted separately within each discipline. This paper presents a review of research on determinants and impacts of active mobility and of policy measures for supporting active mobility, including the three disciplines of transport planning, urban planning, and public health. The paper further shows the different perspectives and ambitions of the three disciplines and, simultaneously, the substantial synergies that can be gained from an interdisciplinary collaboration in research and practice. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Cyclability in Lahore, Pakistan: Looking into Potential for Greener Urban Traveling

  • By 
  • Sheikh Atif Bilal Aslam, 
  • Houshmand E. Masoumi, 
  • Muhammad Asim, 
  • Izza Anwer

  • Measuring perceived or objective cyclability or bikeability has drawn less attention compared to walkability, particularly in developing countries like those in South Asia and the Middle East. This paper presents the results of a survey about cyclability in Lahore, Pakistan, focusing on human perceptions rather than the built environment. The overall sample included a total of 379 respondents from three socio-economic classes: those from lower socio-economic backgrounds accessing traditional/older bazaars, respondents from the middle socio-economic class accessing uptown bazaars, and respondents of higher socio-economic status accessing pedestrian shopping malls. The exploratory data collection was conducted in spring 2018 in Lahore by means of a short standard questionnaire with 19 questions, resulting in 17 categorical/dummy variables, two open-ended variables, and two continuous variables targeting socio-economics, bike trip characteristics, biking barriers, and preferred travel specifications. The results showed that the middle socio-economic group was more inclined, flexible, and willing to bike compared to the lower and higher socio-economic-groups. The lower socio-economic group used the bicycle more frequently than the middle socio-economic group. Around half of the middle socio-economic group commutes via bike compared to the lower socio-economic group. There was little to no representation of 55-64 and 65+ age groups in the data. The descriptive findings of this survey indicate some preliminary signs of differences of decisions and perceptions about biking compared to high-income and European countries. These differences need to be tested in future statistical analyses.

  • Squeegies for sale

    More about Asian cities:

    Facilitating Urban Management Through Local SDI Case Study: The Municipality of Tehran

    Monitoring Urban Sprawl and Sustainable Urban Development Using the Moran Index: A Case Study of Stellenbosch, South Africa

    By Walter Musakwa and Adriaan van Niekerk

    The management of urban sprawl is fundamental to achieving sustainable urban development. Monitoring urban sprawl is, however, challenging. This study proposes the use of two spatial statistics, namely global Moran and local Moran to identify statistically significant urban sprawl hot and cold spots. The findings reveal that the Moran indexes are sensitive to the distance band spatial weight matrices employed and that multiple bands should be used when these indexes are used. The authors demonstrate how the indexes can be used in combination with various visualisation methods to support planning decisions.

    Monday, September 2, 2019

    Urban Sustainability and Resilience: From Theory to Practice

    By Patricia Romero-Lankao, Daniel M. Gnatz, Olga Wilhelmi, and Mary Hayden

    Urbanization and urban areas are profoundly altering the relationship between society and the environment, and affecting cities’ sustainability and resilience in complex ways at alarming rates. Over the last decades, sustainability and resilience have become key concepts aimed at understanding existing urban dynamics and responding to the challenges of creating livable urban futures. Sustainability and resilience have also moved and are now core analytic and normative concepts for many scholars, transnational networks and urban communities of practice. Yet, even with this elevated scholarly attention, strategies for bridging between research and practice remain elusive, and efforts to understand and affect change towards more sustainable and resilient urban centers have often fallen short. This paper seeks to synthesize, from this issue’s papers and other strands of literature, the knowledge, theory and practice of urban sustainability and resilience. Specifically, we focus on what capacities urban actors draw on to create sustainability and resilience and how different definitions of these concepts intersect, complement, or contradict each other. We then examine the implications of those intersections and differences in the efforts by urban actors to enhance the capacity to change unsustainable trajectories and transform themselves, their communities, and their cities toward sustainable and resilient relationships with the environment.

    Solar street lights

     More papers about urban sustainability:


    Sunday, September 1, 2019

    Urban Form and Mobility Choices: Informing about Sustainable Travel Alternatives, Carbon Emissions and Energy Use from Transportation in Swedish Neighbourhoods

    By Todor Stojanovski

    The lack of mobility choices in many Swedish neighbourhoods and cities designed for automobiles hinders the possibilities to shift towards more sustainable travel alternatives. Urban designers and planners can help with redesigning these neighbourhoods and creating urban forms that encourage walking, cycling and increased use of public transportation if they are informed about the environmental performance and carbon implications of transportation systems in existing and newly planned neighbourhoods. This paper proposes a mobility choices model based on urban form and accessibility factors commonly used in urban planning and design practices. The mobility choices model produces heat maps and visually informs about the integration with walking, cycling, public transportation and private car, modal shares, carbon emissions and transportation energy use. This information can (potentially) trigger urban transformation or redesign to better integrate sustainable travel alternatives in these neighbourhoods and contribute to more sustainable cities. Many houses can have an excellent environmental performance as buildings but they can be located at a distance where it is impossible to walk, cycle or use public transportation. The benefits of energy efficient and carbon neutral home then disappears with extensive travel and commuting by automobile. 


    More papers about urban travel behavior:


    Saturday, August 31, 2019

    Revisiting Urban Planning in Developed Countries

    By Pietro Garau

    The purpose of this paper is to describe urban planning trends in the so-called “developed countries”. And indeed, the countries under examination will be precisely those still falling under this category. Throughout this paper, however, the vast region to which they belong will be referred to as “The North”. One reason for this is that, to this author as well as to many others, it is increasingly difficult to define to what kind of end state the terms “developed” and its complementary one, “Developing”, should represent, or aspire to. When the term was coined, it was universally believed that development referred largely to the improvement of economic performance. Then, in 1989, came UNDP’s historic definition of “human development”, which expanded the concept of development to include such factors as educational attainment, health, and gender parity. After that, we began to see that “development” was a moveable object whose contours depended on the bundle of indicators chosen to define and measure it. 

    France, Strasbourg

    More about urban planning and policy making:

    Measuring Gentrification in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area

    By Indrani Boyle

    This study seeks to evaluate and reflect upon attempts to measure gentrification in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area (ICURA) of Portland, Oregon. Established in 2000 by the Portland City Council, and managed by the Portland Development Commission (PDC), the urban renewal area relies on the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to fund capital improvements in a defined area of North/Northeast Portland. Although twenty urban renewal areas have been instituted within the City of Portland since the late 1950’s, few in recent history have included substantial residential areas (B. Durston, personal communication, October 1, 2008). For example, the River District Urban Renewal Area targeted a largely abandoned industrial area beginning in 1998, resulting in the creation of “The Pearl,” a vibrant multi-use district with a significant amount of housing. Although the growth of The Pearl has inspired concerns about gentrification and housing affordability, the prospect of urban renewal in the heavily residential areas of North/Northeast Portland prompted stronger reactions. In a largely homogenous city, the ICURA contains sections of 10 neighborhoods, including historically African American neighborhoods. History makes the racial composition of neighborhoods relevant. Previous actions of PDC led to the relocation of hundreds of African American households to make way for large-scale redevelopment projects. In addition, persistent patterns of legal and illegal discrimination contributed to income and housing instability. Homeownership rates for African Americans in Portland remain well below population averages. However, the neighborhoods within the ICURA were characterized by a deteriorating housing stock, declining employment opportunities, and criminal activity. To many, urban renewal represented both a threat and an opportunity. By necessity, the implementation of urban renewal causes change. In both fact and perception, these changes are likely to be simultaneously positive and negative.


    More articles about urban renewal and revitalization:

    Planning and Urban Design for a Liveable High-Density City

    Thursday, August 29, 2019

    Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form

    By Philipp Rode, Graham Floater, Nikolas Thomopoulos, James Docherty, Peter Schwinger, Anjali Mahendra, Wanli Fang, Bruno Friedel, Alexandra Gomes, Catarina Heeckt, and Roxana Slavcheva

    This paper focusses on one central aspect of urban development: transport and urban form and how the two shape the provision of access to people, goods and services, and information in cities. The more efficient this access, the greater the economic benefits through economies of scale, agglomeration effects and networking advantages. This paper discusses how different urban accessibility pathways impact directly on other measures of human development and environmental sustainability. It also presents the enabling conditions for increasing accessibility and low-carbon mobility in cities. This paper is one of three papers by LSE Cities that form part of the cities research programme of the New Climate Economy (NCE) project for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. The two other contributing papers cover ‘Cities and the New Climate Economy: the Transformative Role of Global Urban Growth’ (NCE Paper 01) and ‘Steering Urban Growth: Governance, Policy and Finance’ (NCE Paper 02).


    More articles about accessibility and urban form:

    A comparative study of the morphological characteristics of residential areas in San Francisco

    Policies for Sustainable Accessibility and Mobility in Urban Areas of Africa


    Modelling Perceived Accessibility to Urban Amenities Using Fuzzy Logic, Transportation GIS and Origin-Destination Surveys

    The Effects of Teleshopping on Travel Behavior and Urban Form

    Accessibility Measures: Overview and Practical Applications


    Tuesday, August 27, 2019


    By Ellen M. Bassett, Timothy Beatley, Reuben M. Rainey, Robert Lamb Hart, David P. Howerton, J. Timothy McCarthy II, Paul Milana, and Stuart Siegel

    The built environment is a critical factor in human health outcomes. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, for instance, poor urban environments were a great threat to city residents from all walks of life. Rapidly growing cities experienced severe epidemics of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, and yellow fever. These epidemics were effectively mitigated through investment in public infrastructure and better urban planning. Sewers were built to manage human waste, public parks were created give access to fresh air, building standards were changed to ensure safe shelter, and development regulations served to reduce traffic congestion and relieve urban overcrowding. Importantly, visionary architects and planners of the time recognized the role of urban design as a tool for improving health. Some of the earliest American suburbs—like Riverside, Illinois, planned by Vaux and Olmstead—were created as havens from the industrial city and designed in a way that incorporated nature and health-giving open space throughout the model community. In reaction to heavily polluted London, Ebenezer Howard envisioned the “garden-city” which strove to integrate the best of the city with the benefits of rural life. His iconic vision informed the thinking of other leading 20th century designers and urbanists who created places like the New Deal-era Greenbelt towns—practical but utopian communities designed to provide decent housing, strong community life, and nearby employment and amenities to its residents. Our triumph over the acute diseases of the city provides important lessons for today since communities across the United States now face a different type of health threat—namely the spread of chronic diseases, such as asthma, Type-2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.1 Of particular concern relative to the rise of chronic diseases is the global rise in levels of obesity. The prevalence of obesity or extreme obesity for adults aged 20 to 74—conventionally measured as a Body Mass Index exceeding 30 for obesity and 40 for extreme obesity—has risen from 14.3% in 1960-62 to 41.9% in 2010-2011 (Fryar, et al.(a), 2014). Child and adolescent (aged 2 to 19) obesity now measures at 16.9%, up from 5.2% in 1971-1974 (Fryar, et al.,(b), 2014). At the same time that obesity has risen, average rates of physical activity have fallen for both adults and children. In the US, only 48% of adults meet the Surgeon General’s Guidelines for physical activity, namely 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking every week ( facts.html). Physical inactivity amongst children is also a concern. For instance, in 2009, 13 percent of children five to 14 years old usually walked or biked to school compared with 48 percent of students in 1969. The concern with obesity and physical inactivity is so pronounced in our public health conversations because of the known link between these factors and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer.

    Measuring Neighborhood Quality of Life: Placed-Based Sustainability Indicators in Freiburg, Germany

    By Craig A. Talmage, Bjoern Hagen, David Pijawka, and Cara Nassar

    There has been a recent upswing of academic interest in the social dimensions of sustainable cities, especially the dynamics of Quality of Life (QoL), Environmental Equity, Ecosystem Services, Eco-Friendliness, Public Engagement, and Well-Being and Happiness Indicators. These factors are only now being evaluated as critical aspects of sustainable place-making and community development. This paper explores the social dimensions of neighborhood development in what some believe to be one of the most sustainable cities—Freiberg, Germany. We look at two neighborhoods that were specifically designed and built with sustainability principles and practices at their core. The authors surveyed residents of these neighborhoods to measure their levels of well-being, satisfaction with place, and other important QoL factors. Quantitative data was ascertained from residents using a survey questionnaire. The results show a high correlation between QoL factors as a function of place-making and sustainability practice. 

    More papers about quality of life:

    Impact Assessment of Sustainable Public Transportation System on Quality of Life in Tehran

    Walking and Transit Use Behavior in Walkable Urban Neighborhoods

    By Devon McAslan,

    Urban transportation is one of the most important target sectors for creating more sustainable and livable cities. Many US cities are making huge investments in public transit infrastructure in efforts to lower automobile use, encourage compact development, and curb greenhouse gas emissions. This paper explores how differences in the urban environment impact walking and transit use and how urban residents utilize walking and transit as modes of transportation. I use data from neighborhood mapping, observations, surveys, and interviews to explore these two questions. I find that walking is indeed the main mode of transportation within the urban core of Seattle. In contrast to what mainstream urban planning literature would suggest, residents living in the dense urban core of Seattle do not appear to be transit dependent and continue to drive at higher than expected rates. To help explain this, I explore how the ‘theory of urban fabrics’ applies to walkability and transit planning. This new emerging theory encourages planners to rediscover how to prioritize different modes of transportation within different parts of the city instead of current trends, which advocate for multimodal and shared streets throughout the city. Evidence indicates that the most walkable neighborhoods are those that have the least number of conflicts between pedestrians, transit, and automobiles, and that the transit system in Seattle suffers because it is not prioritized over cars in any significant way. This reduces the likelihood that individuals will make the switch to transit over driving, which has important implications for transportation planning policies.

    Kalamazoo is a Walkable Community Photo by Michigan Municipal League

    More articles about walkability:

    Urban Travel Behavior in Large Cities of MENA Region: Survey Results of Cairo, Istanbul, and Tehran

    Thursday, June 27, 2019

    Understanding Urban Travel Behaviour by Gender for Efficient and Equitable Transport Policies

    By Wei-Shiuen Ng and Ashley Acker

    Gender is one of the key socio-demographic variables that can influence travel behaviour, but it is often the least understood. Understanding travel behaviour by gender will help better design transport policies that are efficient and equitable. Due to the gendered division of work in households, women often have multiple tasks and activities. As a result, women are more likely to have shorter commute distances, to chain trips, to have more non-work related trips, to travel at off-peak hours, and to choose more flexible modes. This study examines travel behaviour by gender in eight different cities, across three different continents, focusing on transport mode, trip purpose, travel distance and departure time for Auckland, Dublin, Hanoi, Helsinki, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon and Manila. The most common trends found in the cities are that women tend to travel shorter distances and prefer public transport and taxi services to cars more than men.

    Di atas bus

    Read more about urban travel transportation planning:

    Economic Impacts of Adopting a Sustainable Transport System in Beirut

    A critical review of new mobility services for urban transport

    Urban Travel Behavior in Large Cities of MENA Region: Survey Results of Cairo, Istanbul, and Tehran

    Longitudinal correlations of car ownership with socio-economics, urban form, and transport infrastructure in Latin America: Example from Ensenada, Mexico

    Active Transport to School and Children's Body Weight: A Systematic Reivew

    An Analysis of Car Ownership in Latin American Cities: a Perspective for Future Research

    A dynamic formulation for car ownership modeling

    Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation