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Traffic Demand Management In Three Historic Cities: Results Of A Multivariate Analysis of Business Attitudes.

By B. Gerrard


The problem of traffic congestion and pollution in cities has become a major focus of UK transport policy in recent years. The government consultation paper, Breaking the Logjam (DETR, 1998), considered two specific traffic demand management policies: road user charges (RUC) and workplace parking levies (WPL). Legislation is now before Parliament to allow local authorities to introduce these policies. A major issue affecting the introduction of traffic demand management policies is the possible economic impacts on the urban business sector. There has been little research on the link between transport factors and urban business performance. There is general evidence that firms located in conurbations tend to perform more poorly than firms located in other areas (see, for example, Moore et al., 1980; Fothergill and Gudgin, 1982; Fothergill et al., 1984). There is also evidence that inner city firms perform more poorly than those in outer city locations. For example, Dobson and Gerrard (1991) find that engineering firms located in the inner Leeds area tend to have a lower level of profitability than engineering firms located in the outer Leeds area. Transport problems are one possible important cause of these location effects on business performance. This is supported directly by evidence that transport factors are an important influence on commercial location decisions (Nelson et al., 1994). Of all of the possible business reactions to the introduction of traffic demand management policies in urban areas, the potentially most important in economic terms is the relocation of businesses out of the urban core. Any significant degree of business evacuation of the urban core would have a profound impact on the ability of the urban economy to support the local population. In addition, any spatial restructuring of the local economy would have implications for traffic flows, shifting the locations of major traffic attractors from the urban core to the periphery. Although this may alleviate congestion in the urban core, it may serve only to create congestion elsewhere rendering traffic demand management policies somewhat counter-productive in the long run. The objective of this paper is to report the results of a multivariate analysis of business perceptions of current transport conditions and attitudes to traffic demand management policies based on a survey of firms in three historic cities - Cambridge, Norwich and York. A key component of the survey is the information provided on whether firms are currently considering relocation and the likely impact of the introduction of RUC and WPL on the next location decision. Basic data analysis of the survey responses indicates that the overwhelming majority of firms would definitely or possibly consider relocation as a response to the introduction of traffic demand management. The multivariate analysis seeks to identify those factors that have a statistically significant effect on the probability of relocation as a response. \ud \ud The structure of the paper is as follows. Section 2 briefly outlines the methodology of the multivariate analysis. Section 3 provides details of the data set used for the multivariate analysis. Section 4 presents the results of the multivariate analysis of the factors influencing the perception of acute transport problems, current relocation considerations, and relocation as a response to RUC and WPL. The final section provides a summary of the findings and a discussion of the policy implications

Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Year: 2000
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