Upwardly mobile: regeneration and the quest for sustainable mobility in the Thames Gateway

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This paper explores the potentially conflicting relationship between government regional policies for the regeneration of the Thames Gateway and local government attempts to reduce public reliance on the motor car as a primary means of transportation. A primary purpose of the paper is, therefore, to appraise the transport policy recommendations of RPG 9A (DoE, 1995) and analyse the extent to which they are consistent with the transport planning guidance set out in PPG 13 (DoE/DoT, 1994).

Transport infrastructure has been identified as vital to the regeneration process, largely due to the characterisation of regeneration as dependent on high levels of access and rapid mobility, both within the regeneration area and to other economically active areas. Usually, this has meant the introduction of road expansion projects into local authority transport policies and programmes for the area. In recent years, however, a growing consensus has evolved amongst policy makers and local planning authorities, which recognises that increases in the capacity of the roads network, rather than solving the problems of traffic congestion, encourage increases in traffic growth. It is now generally accepted within the transport planning arena that these traffic trends are economically and environmentally unsustainable and that to attempt to meet increased demand with increases in road capacity is no longer viable. As a consequence of this recognition, demand management has re-emerged as the preferred transport planning option. Given this policy shift, it could be presumed that regeneration plans for the Gateway would require a planning framework which seeks to implement a more sustainable pattern of development, closely integrated with the introduction of a transport system which can contain or even reduce the increases in travel demand which have traditionally arisen from regeneration projects.

This research, however, highlights an apparent shortfall between transport policy statements for the Gateway, which follow the rhetoric of sustainable development, and development proposals but will tend to increase volumes of traffic as well as the propensity to travel if implemented in their present form. The paper argues that if enhanced environmental standards through regeneration are indeed the aim of Thames Gateway planning proposals, a radical re-evaluation of the current transport strategy is essential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1998


  • regeneration
  • sustainable mobility
  • Thames Gateway


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