The Institutional Integration of Transport and Spatial Planning
Rob van der Heijden, Henk Meurs & Caspar Stelling
Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute of Management Research (IMR)
Various studies have concluded that growing mobility causes accessibility issues at the regional level cannot be solved by merely building new infrastructures. A stronger coordination between the two policy fields of land-use planning and transport planning is needed. This coordination should focus on (a) reducing the need for travelling, (b) a substantial increase in the use of more environmental friendly modes of transport (bicycle and public transport).
Policy integration however appears difficult to reach in practice. Professionals from both policy fields speak sometimes different languages and institutions (organizational structure, rules for policy making and implementation, culture and discourses) differ. In our study, an analysis was made of the formal and informal rules by which major decisions: the institutional perspective.
This is less easy than it seems. Reducing an accessibility problem in a region implies a lengthy process where many actors are involved, many formal and informal decisions, many options to consider (ranging from toll systems to constructing a new bicycle network). Decisions are prepared, considered, taken, rejected, reconsidered, changed. One therefore needs a policy reconstruction model to systematize the analysis of real-world practices. The conceptual model used is based on the so called Structure of Provision approach focusing on strategic policy making in a multi-actor setting, ownership of ideas and assets, the translation into project organization and on heuristics for interpretation. The SoP model was specified for four levels: the societal discourse, the strategic planning debate, the tactical planning debate and the operational planning debate.
We applied the model to the city region Arnhem-Nijmegen. The analysis of the institutional arena of this city region confirmed the complexity in legislation, organization and discourses. The region has the advantage that a regional authority has been introduced in 1984, that plays a significant coordinating role, although it has restricted formal possibilities to steer the developments in the region.
Next, three projects within the region where analyzed more in-depth: the planning and building of a large new living area (Waalsprong) in Nijmegen, the development of a public transport service provision (Regiorail KAN) and the extension of a motorway crossing the area (A15). We concluded that the infrastructure provision arrangement of the A15 development links the two policy fields seemingly most directly. In practice however, the planning of the motorway is more influenced by financial arrangements than land-use policy. The public transport service provision has a potential very positive effect on connecting areas. However, there appeared to be only limited institutionalized connections between service provisions and land-use development. Also for the new living area development, the interaction between both policy fields showed to be more limited than expected.
Even in a well planned and organized region as the city region Arnhem-Nijmegen, in practice still little attention is paid to the transport – land-use integration. The impact of the regional authority as a major coordinating institution is clear at the strategic policy level. At the operational planning level, however, project arrangements show hardly overlaps between both policy fields in terms of institutions, actor responsibilities and funding. This conclusion underlines the relevance of the ongoing efforts to seek for more integration than we know today.