Towards a spatial energy model: A theoretical comparison of accessibility and energy-use in regional settlement patterns

Rickaby, Peter (1985). Towards a spatial energy model: A theoretical comparison of accessibility and energy-use in regional settlement patterns. PhD thesis The Open University.



The research reported is a theoretical investigation of the interaction of land-use and transport in relation to the use of energy. Of particular interest is the relationship between the spatial arrangement of settlements and the use of energy within them for both transport and building services.

The literature of scenarios of energy futures is reviewed, and three scenarios of future constraints on regional planning are adopted. The adopted scenarios emphasise constraints imposed by energy policy and the availability of fuels; they form the background to the comparison of a number of theoretical regional settlement patterns, in terms of their implications for land-use and their potential for fuel-conservation.

A study of an existing regional settlement pattern is used in combination with published land-use data as the basis of a configurational model. This model is intended to characterise the real pattern spatially, quantitatively and in a manner suitable for experimental manipulation. The model encompasses the pattern of developed land (disaggregated by uses), the shape of the transport network, and the intensity of development (in terms of population and floorspace).

A review is then made of published proposals for energy-efficient settlements, which are found to include concentrated, dispersed, nucleated and linear patterns. Five modified versions of the regional configurational model are then constructed in order to characterise the range of realistic possibilities for future regional form which might result from the fuel-conservation policies inherent in the proposals reviewed.

The five regional configurations and the original pattern are then compared by means of a specially-developed land-use transport and energy-evaluation model. The comparison is made in terms of the accessibility of the population in each pattern to employment and services (measured 'biy the model as "benefits"), and. in terms of the use of fuel in both transport and domestic space heating. Fuel use in transport is related to modal split and vehicle speed; fuel use in homes is related to dwelling size and location. Parametric calibration of the land-use and transport models allows the comparison of the patterns to be repeated in the context of each of the three adopted energy scenarios, taking into account changes in travelling behaviour, vehicle efficiencies, and building services technologies.

The results of the comparison are discussed and assessed in terms of their implications for long-term strategic planning policy.

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