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What is the idea of urban transport? Is it simply a trendy system, or towards the future of sustainable development and sharing road surfaces? In the present day the road can reflect segregation between car, pedestrian and cyclists. There is a hierarchy present. Perhaps, the road before the New Age would present much more freedom to movement, where there was no distinct boundary. It can be argued by author Carlton Reid (2015, p.54) that there are three types of ‘public territory’, which are personal, temporal and public. The road is classified as a public territory. Though, the word ‘territory’ instigates a cautious note to those who trespass this sphere. In this post I want to discuss the ideas of modern urban transport and how to improve the relationship between these users.

Urban Transportation:

The definition of urban transport, or also known as ‘… Urban Transportation Network (UTN) [allows] the interaction between the transportation capacity of the infrastructures and the mobility demands.’ (Di Febbraro and Sacco, 2008, p.102). The UTN can be seen as a way to organise the users of the road to avoid conflict between this space. Throughout the 21st Century there has been an been an increase in cycle users; using their bike as a mode of transport, but cars still remain dominant in the territory. This can be represented by the statistics below:

Fig.1 Different types of modes of transportation used in 2015, that was recorded in the public’s travel diary, (National Travel Survey, 2015, p.2).
Fig 2. Average distances that increased based on these modes of transportation between 2005 – 2015, (National Travel Survey, 2015, p.4).

In figure 1 it shows that only 5% are bike users compared to 48% being car/ van drivers, whilst cycling is the only mode of transport that shows a positive and large increase with trips and distance, shown in figure 2. Another factor that I realised from looking through these data’s, are that those who cycle may also use the car too and we cannot tell which mode they use the most. Thus, the frequency of using the car may counteract the frequency of cycling by the same person.

How do you improve the relationship with cars and cyclists?

Designing urban road is a slow process, which cannot be transformed over night, but it is significant to understand basic philosophies of human activities, to allow a progressive process. As author Colin Pooley (2013, p.67) notes that physical environment is shaped by human activities, an example of this includes, land use patterns, distribution of activities across space; when designing transportation networks.  This can be further supported because the road is a place to allow “…range of activities varying in tone and breath…” (A. Annunziata and F. Annunziata, 2014, p.340). Therefore, it is important that the UTN acknowledge the movements of the human, whether people’s mode of choice is cycling, or by car because the road is a collective space for all.

Additionally, there are different type of motions that exists around car circulation, which can be used as a guide to design the UTN; they are:

  • Small-size – slight diffused movement.
  • Medium-size – entering a specific part of urban quarter.
  • Large-size – movement across distant areas.

Where cycling is considered a medium-size motion (A. Annunziata and F. Annunziata, 2014, p.344). This an important fact to consider as the government wants to encourage more bike users, where cycling could become a large-size motion but also the improvement of technology could make cycling more convenient, so designing cycle routes for large motions is important.


Overall, the the UTN is integral to reconcile the relationship of cyclists and motor users but also people who use other modes of transportation. The road belongs to the public space. It should not be viewed as a territorial sphere but a phenomenon to allow the exchange of activities and should be collectively designed to allow the continuity of these activities to take place.

Thank you for reading my blog post!



[1] Annunziata, A. and Annunziata F., (2014). ‘Roads in urban areas: Limits to regulations and design criteria’. In: K. Mohammadian, K.G. Goulias, E. Cicek, J-J. Wang and C. Maraveas (eds.) (2014). Civil Engineering and Urban Planning III. London: Taylor & Francis Group. Pp. 339-348.

[2] Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) (from the Department of Transport)., (2018). Cycling and Walking Investment safety review call for evidence: summary of responses. [pdf] CWIS. Available at: <> [Accessed 02 December 2018].

[3] Di Febbraro, A. and Sacco, N., (2008). ‘On performance sensitivity of urban transportation networks’. In: C.A. Brebbia (ed.), (2008). Urban Transportation XIV: Urban Transportation and the Environment in the 21st Century. Southampton: WIT Press.

[4] Enjoywalthamforest., (2018). Walthamstow Village. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 05 December 2018].

[5] Jaffe, E., (2016). ‘The 4 Types of Cyclists you’ll Meet on U.S. City Streets’. [online] CityLab. Available at: <> [Accessed on 02 December 2018].

[6] Pooley, C., (2013). Promoting Walking and Cycling: New Perspectives on Sustainable Travel. Policy Press: Bristol.

[7] Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)., (2018). ‘Four Types of Transportation Cyclists’. [online] PBOT. Available at: <> [Accessed 02 December 2018].

[ 8] National Transport Survey (from Department of Transportation)., (2015). Mode use, 2005 – 2015: A view into a travel week. [pdf] National Transport Survey. Available at: <> [Accessed 01 December 2018].

 [9] Reid, C., (2015). Roads were not built for cars: how cyclists were the first to push for good roads & became the pioneers of motoring. Washington, DC: Island Press.

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Planning and Landscape
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