There has to be a moment in time when the idea at the core of a book first crackles into life. In this case the catalyst was a phrase in ‘This Common Inheritance’, the seminal White Paper published in 1990, during Chris Patten’s time as Secretary of State for the Environment. This marked a turning point at the end of a decade during which the government had ignored the basis of much land-use and transport planning policy developed since the mid-1960s. The phrase followed a discussion of the proposed use of planning to guide development into locations which would reduce the need for transport and/or permit use of public transport, as an alternative to the motor car:

This marked a welcome resurgence of commitment to policies which would seek to bring about a planned relationship between land-use and transport networks, rather than just bending to market forces to produce development patterns dominated by the demands of the motor car and lorry. However, the statement seemed to deny decades of work by academics and practitioners to understand relationships between land-use patterns and transport networks and, on the face of it, this seemed odd. So a review of this work was timely.