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Transport and Environment

In Search of Sustainable Solutions

Edited by Eran Feitelson and Erik Verhoef

The impact of transport on the environment is a major issue of worldwide concern. This important new book presents state-of-the-art contributions on spatial and technological aspects of transport in relation to environmental degradation, together with analysis of sustainable transport policy.
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Chapter 10: Effects of the Dutch compact city policy on travel behaviour

Kees Maat


Kees Maat INTRODUCTION The turbulent growth of mobility in most countries is now a matter of fact. Roads are backed up more often and over longer distances, while attempts to prevent traffic jams are less effective. The economic core areas in and around the cities are increasingly difficult to reach. All in all, the use of the car is growing at the expense of liveability. The problem is that more people travel (somewhat) more frequently over longer distances. Moreover, they take the car much more often rather than sustainable forms of transport. For a long time, authorities have responded to the rising demand for mobility by investing in infrastructure. Specifically, the government has built new roads, widened existing ones, and increased road capacity in some other ways. The motorway system in the Netherlands, measured as the combined length of all individual lanes, is now twice as extensive as in 1970. Gradually, policy makers have come to realize that any improvement is just temporary, as it generates more traffic. At places, for instance in the cities, where capacity is not increased fast enough, traffic gets tied up. At other places, there is no way to increase capacity. This realization prompted a new response to the insatiable demand for mobility, namely by attempting to cap the growth of car mobility. This objective may be broken down into the following three strategies: 1. Limiting car use: by way of a shift from the car to more sustainable modes of transport. This involves discouraging...

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