Table of Contents

Handbook on Transport and Development

Handbook on Transport and Development

Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister

This Handbook provides an extensive overview of the relationships between transport and development. With 45 chapters from leading international authors, the book is organised in three main parts: urban structure and travel; transport and spatial impacts; and wider dimensions in transport and development. The chapters each present commentary on key issues within these themes, presenting the debate on the impacts of urban structure on travel, the impacts of transport investment on development, and social and cultural change on travel. A multitude of angles are considered – leaving the reader with a comprehensive and critical understanding of the field.

Chapter 15: Transport and urban development

Piet Rietveld and Frank Bruinsma

Subjects: development studies, development studies, economics and finance, environmental economics, transport, environment, environmental economics, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


Transport is one of the key factors that influence urban development in the long run. For example, Clark (1958) indicates that transport can be both a ‘maker and breaker’ of cities. We therefore start this chapter with a short introduction on the long-run trends in transport. A remarkable development in both passenger and freight transport is that costs decreased substantially in the long run, whereas speeds increased over time. For example, for ocean shipping, Crafts and Venables (2001) indicate that real costs fell by about 83 per cent between 1750 and 1990. A similar development can be observed in passenger transport. Moreover, speeds have increased in all major transport modes during the last centuries (Rietveld and Vickerman, 2004). These speeds relate to the average speed for trips, based on total travel time, including access and egress time of the various modes (bus, train, car, motorcycle, plane). Since access and egress modes are slow, the average speed will increase when travel distances increase. Thus, a certain part of the speed increases are due to increases of travel distances. However, most of the speed increases will be related to improvements of infrastructures, network design, vehicle power, frequencies and transport system innovations. An example of a transport system innovation is the introduction and increased use of containers during the past 50 years.

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