Supporting decisions for new housing developments

Supporting decisions for new housing developments

Town & Country Planning

Town Planners all over the UK are advising their clients on the technical and political processes surrounding land and design of the urban environment.  This includes transportation and distribution networks that pass in and out of the urban areas.

Challenges faced by Town Planners

As well as the planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, an additional challenge a planner, working on behalf of a property developer, might face is a local authority stating that a location is poorly serviced by public transport and that planning permission is denied.

In this case it’s likely that the local authority is making a judgement using a scoring method that does not take the full picture into the equation or worse making the assessment without any robust evidence at all.

In London, for example, there is a high dependency on the use of Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) from which to make decisions.  This is an indication of walk time and frequency at transport nodes, but does not look at where people can actually get to.  This does not provide a complete and full insight into how accessible that location may be or how many people can actually access that site within a certain time.

For instance, take a site identified for development.  The total population able to reach this site within 60 minutes using public transport is 2,405,595.  This represents 29% of the total population of London.  These figures contradict the low accessibility scoring that would be assigned to this location using PTAL.

Town Planners take control with TRACC

Data is available to calculate the correct assessment, however the result would take too long to calculate manually and there would be high risk that the results were not completely accurate.

Town Planners generally turn to transport consultants to obtain these reports, which naturally come with a fee.

Town Planners are now beginning to take control for themselves by using the award winning software  TRACC as the tool to determine an accurate accessibility analysis.

The diagram below shows travel times based on access to any public transport stop within 640 metres of the site and on a Monday between 7am and 9am:-


Not only does this enable them to add value to the services they already offer their clients, it is bringing them other benefits too.

  • Bespoke reports to back up their recommendations
  • Complex and larger calculations, which were once impossible now take just a few hours
  • High level of accuracy reduces the financial risk when making potentially expensive decisions
  • No specialist knowledge is needed to use TRACC.
  • Great value for money at a fraction of the cost of the consultant’s fee!

Map showing transport nodes colour coded according to their frequency (Mon 7am to 9am):-

Frequency1.1 small

Town Planners adding value with TRACC

When further analysis is required it’s possible to add Ordnance Survey Points of Interest data as well as hospitals, schools, supermarkets, leisure centres, doctor’s surgeries.

This now allows Town Planners to include in their calculation the total number of key destinations accessible within the maximum travel time and further intelligence and weight to their reports.

Cycle times to site based upon 7km/hr (average rush hour speed):-



To view this article’s PDF please click here

23rd November 2014