Land, urban form and ecological footprint of transport: application of geo-information to measure transport related urban sustainability in developing countries with a case study of Ahmedabad, India
Author(s): Zuidgeest, Mark
All authors:
Host organisation:
Smaller Projects Abstracts
Country: China
Publication year: 2006
Published in:
Research theme: Environment and Climate Change, Mobility and Access, Walking and Cycling
Transport and development, Transport and environment, incl. climate change, Non-motorized transport (NMT), Geo‐information systems for Transport (GIS-T), Land – use Transport Integration, incl. Urban form
Final Report
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With the current pace of social and economic development of cities in rapidly developing countries such as India and the resulting growth of the urban population, sustainable urban transport has become a major concern. This growing concern for sustainable transport highlights the need for consistent information to support informed policy and decision making in this sector. Most issues of sustainable transport are related to a better understanding of people´s travel patterns, which are highly influenced by urban form elements and socio‐economic attributes. The research undertaken in the VREF Smaller Project defines urban form indicators and addresses how important indicators can be derived and quantified using spatial analysis techniques and remotely sensed imagery. The research culminates in the quantification of a Transport Ecological Footprint (TEF), an easy‐to‐understand measure to communicate the impacts of the transport system on the environment.
Urban form and urban land use information are intrinsically linked to travel patterns (Stead & Marshall 2001; Snellen 2001; Badoe and Miller 2000, Song and Knaap 2004) and consequently to the transport ecological footprint. The relationship between transport, land use and urban form is complicated by the fact that a change in any one of these aspects will also result in changes in the other two (Cao et al. 1998). Therefore a better understanding of the three‐way dynamics between the level of land supply, urban form and travel demand would be helpful to decision‐makers. Important urban form elements in this research are distance of residence from the urban centre, settlement size, mixing of land uses, compactness, provision of local facilities, density of development, proximity to transport networks, availability of residential parking, road network type, neighbourhood type and population distribution (based on income). These can all be considered as important proxies for travel pattern characteristics like the number of trips people make, average trip length, mode choice etc. A number of these indicators have been developed using remote sensing (RS) and geographical information systems (GIS) for the city of Ahmedabad in India. The extraction of urban form and land use information in developing indicators to support urban transport analysis using RS and GIS has received considerable attention recently (Zhang & Guindon 2006; Guindon & Zhang 2006; Song & Knaap 2004; Torrens & Alberti 2000). Remotely sensed imagery provides a global information resource that, when compared to traditional methods of data collection, has the ability to provide data of an entire area, including areas that are difficult to access, at a greater data acquisition frequency, reusable for different projects and in a cost efficient way (Jensen, 2000). With the arrival of high resolution satellite imagery, new imaging technology and image analysis techniques, new opportunities for more detailed mapping and analysis of the urban area have come up. At the same time, the transport planning community is increasingly showing interest in topics related to urban remote sensing research.

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The VREF invites Sub-Saharan based researchers with expertise on sustainable and equitable
mobility and access or related areas, and strong interest in carrying out interdisciplinary research. Open for application until 2020-09-29


The VREF invites PhD students and advanced master students from Sub-Saharan African (SSA) universities to apply for a Mobility Grant (MG) to support a visit to another SSA university with up to SEK 25 000.


The VREF invites PhD students and researchers in early stages of their career to apply for a Study Visit Grant to be supported with up to SEK 30 000.

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The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

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