RTPI Net Zero Transport

  • Client

    Royal Town Planning Institute

  • Location


  • Sector

    Research & Development

  • Description

    Research demonstrating the role of spatial planning and place-based solutions to transport decarbonisation

Active Travel
Behaviour Change
Low Carbon

Project overview

We were appointed by the Royal Town Planning institute (RTPI) to carry out research with LDA Design and City Science, exploring how different places can achieve an 80% reduction in surface transport emissions by 2030, as part of a pathway to net zero by 2050. The research culminated in the report ‘Net Zero Transport: the role of spatial planning and place-based solutions’, which demonstrated the contribution of spatial planning and place-based solutions to transport decarbonisation.

Prioritising place-based solutions, the research drew upon the Sustainable Accessibility and Mobility (SAM) Framework as developed by Vectos, which outlines the hierarchy of substituting trips, shifting to active, public and shared modes of travel, and then switching to electric or hydrogen vehicles. By demonstrating the urgency of the transport sector to move towards a ‘do everything’ approach to achieve the government’s net zero targets, the research highlighted the importance of employing a ‘vision and validate’ approach to transport planning, setting clear targets for trip reduction, mode share and carbon emissions.

Our Approach

Research combined advanced carbon modelling with stakeholder workshops to test the impact of 40 carbon reduction interventions in 4 place typologies: a regeneration town, a unicentric city, a polycentric conurbation and a growing county.

We considered a variety of potential solutions such as increasing density, restricting car use, promoting mixed development and mobility hubs, and creating integrated active and public transport networks. By setting out an emissions reduction pathway and spatial vision for each typology, it demonstrates the contribution of spatial planning and place-based solutions to transport decarbonisation.

The team also considered the potential impact of COVID-19, and the role of planning policy and culture in ensuring that decarbonisation delivers wider benefits to health and wellbeing, inclusion and strategic green infrastructure. The project has culminated in the production of ambitious vision plans for each area. The report is available here: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/research/2020/june/net-zero-transport-the-role-of-spatial-planning-and-place-based-solutions/