On transport integration: a contribution to better understanding

Potter, Stephen and Skinner, Martin J. (2000). On transport integration: a contribution to better understanding. Futures, 32(3-4) pp. 275–287.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-3287(99)00097-X


Over the years there have been many forecasts of transport futures. Most have taken a technological perspective, but this paper differs. Our perspective, linked to current transport policy debates, concerns the processes, institutions and structures within which transport technologies develop. ‘Integration’ is taken as our focus, because the concept of ‘integrated transport’ has become an important guiding principle for transport policies' institutional and structural development in several countries.

Much has been talked about the need to reduce significantly the environmental impact of transport. While technical solutions that reduce the impact of individual journeys have a place, it is unlikely that they alone can reduce the impact of transport to a sustainable level. Only the development of highly integrated strategies have the potential to improve sustainability. Such strategies involve areas of activity that are not traditionally considered part of the transport planning process, such as health, urban regeneration, and education.

There is no widely accepted definition of what Integrated Transport means. It is to help clarify such ambiguities that this paper has been written. This paper explores the meaning of Integrated Transport and considers whether such strategies will contribute to sustainability.

Using examples from photography and computer system design the paper shows that there is a need to develop a better understanding of the meaning of Integrated Transport, outlining a typology developed to classify various definitions of Integrated Transport. Integrated Transport is viewed as scalar in nature, with higher levels incorporating lower, or narrower, understandings of the term Integrated Transport. Points on this scale include:

• Functional or Modal Integration, which is part of...

• Transport and Planning Integration, which is part of...

• Social Integration, which is part of...

• Environmental, Economic and Transport Policy Integration

Transport Integration may be considered as a series of steps, with an incremental approach leading to higher levels of both Integration and Sustainability. Only by commitment, and allocation of resources, to the highest levels, will issues of sustainability be properly addressed.

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