Success and failures in urban transport planning in Europe — understanding the transport system
Technological determinism has become a kind of religion for many people since it appears to offer solutions for societal problems as never before in history. Transport is one of the fascinating technology branches developed during the last 200 years. Effortless movement over long distances has become possible for car users as long as cheap fossil energy is available. However, the effect of fast transport on urban structures and society was not taken into account when developing these technical means. Technologists and economists have used indicators for expected beneﬁts of these fast transport modes without taking into account the real system effects on society and urban structures. Plausible assumptions and hopes instead of scientiﬁc understanding of the complex system are used in practice. In contradiction to widely held beliefs of transportation planners, there is actually no growth of mobility if counted in number of trips per person per day, no time saving by increasing speed in the system, and no real freedom of modal choice. Modal choice is dependent on physical and other structures, the artiﬁcial environment built by urban planners, transport experts and political decisions. The core hypothesis of traditional urban and transport planning ‘growth of mobility’, ‘travel time saving by increasing speed’ and ‘freedom of modal choice’ are myths and do not exist in the real urban and transport system. This is the reason why urban planning and transport planning based on traditional non-scientiﬁc assumptions is creating continuously not only more transport problems, but also environmental and social as well as economic problems all over the world, where these principals are applied. Urban transport planning in Europe, understanding the transport system and the solutions are presented in this paper.