In Traffic in Towns, published more than 50 years ago, Sir Colin Buchanan wrote presciently of the negative impacts of increasing traffic levels on towns and cities. Traffic in Towns: The Next 50 Years, is a timely and essential compendium that explores what we have learned since Buchanan about urban mobility, and shows how hard-won experience and good practice can inform and guide cities around the world.

Many challenges remain but, 50 years later, we know much more about the solutions. Traffic in Towns: The Next 50 Years features a series of articles from leading innovators, thinkers and strategists in the international urban transport field. It is edited by Ying Jin of Cambridge University and John Polak of Imperial College, London. 

The original Traffic in Towns revealed how transport and urban planning are locked in a complex network of interdependent influences. The issues faced by Buchanan back in 1963 have not gone away, and often loom even larger today, particularly in the congestion-choked mega cities of the low and middle income countries. While the rise of car ownership and use are slowing or showing signs of decline in some cities in the rich countries, the challenges of air quality, equity and resource efficiency remain endemic. . We hope this compendium will spur new thinking in looking beyond the confines of the transportation systems in tackling conundrums of urban traffic.

Introduction: Inspired traffic solutions often lie outside the traditional confines of transport planning...

By Editors Ying Jin of Cambridge University and John Polak of Imperial College, London

Will the car, as we know it, still exist as a means of mass urban transport in 50 years? If so, in which part of the city will it remain? How will people and goods move in the city? These are the core questions that this compendium sets out to explore. Its focus is on what is to be done now, since looking far into the future is really about choosing the path to be taken in the next few steps. The compendium offers insights for all those who are keen to understand what really works for urban traffic, whether it is a mayoral candidate or an apprentice on her first day at work. It also shows that inspired traffic solutions often lie outside the traditional confines of transport planning: what led to the make-overs is often jobs, regeneration and crime reduction. Future solutions could come in unexpected ways too: for instance the emerging social-media based rideshare services may provide a clue for the shape of things to come, and ‘integration’ may look like a massive ‘disruption’ rather than slightly better communication between the operation silos.

1: The legacy and the future

2: Urban traffic and its effects

3: Technology and policy options

4: Global case studies

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