Restraining transport inequality in growing cities: Can spatial planning play a role?

The burden of commuting has become a key issue in relation to the quality of urban life in large cities, particularly in large growing cities in developing countries. There has now arisen a serious problem with transport inequality, with low-income families usually bearing a high level of travel burden. It is widely believed that spatial planning could help to restrain this increasing transport inequality rather than only the provision of expensive transport infrastructure. However, opinions on this claim are still mixed. In addition, empirical evidence from developing countries remains scarce. This article reports on an initial investigation into the effects of spatial planning on low-income earners' commuting burden by looking at the case of Beijing. The results of the analysis show that there is obvious transport inequality, as low- and middle-income earners have longer commuting times than high-income earners. Elements of the built environment have a significant influence on low-income earners' commuting burden when socioeconomic factors are taken into account. Compared to middle- and high-income workers, low-income earners' commuting times, in particular, are significantly related to some planning elements, such as mixed land use and the jobs–housing balance. Improvements in the road network and metro services may play a limited role in reducing low-income earners' commuting time. Finally, targeted employment or housing development should be integrated with transport planning in transport policies aiming for greater equity.


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  • Accession Number: 01609059
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 12 2016 3:00PM