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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Houses or apartments? The transport impacts of different built form typologies in a fast-growing UK region

This dissertation aims to develop an extension to existing land use and transport studies by taking the corridor between Cambridge and Waterbeach as a case study to study and model the effects of built form on transport and travel. Cambridge is a world-renowned university town and enjoys a high standard of living and low unemployment. As a world-class centre for research and technology, more and more firms are being attracted into the region. Recent trends show that the number of people working in Cambridge may double by 2050 and most of the employees would commute from outside. Without prompt intervention, Cambridge will suffer from congestion and crowding, leading to a loss in its competitiveness. The case study focuses on the corridor between Cambridge and Waterbeach to gain new insight into the coordination between the transport system and local housing development in Waterbeach. In this dissertation, a total of three different housing development strategies are tested, including Current Master Plan, Fast Transport Plan and Transit and Housing Coordinated Development Plan. The result shows that people who live in Waterbeach and work in Cambridge have 40% to 55% probability driving to work under Current Master Plan, and this can aggregate large traffic burden on A10, about 7669 new trips generated during the peak hour. If a brand-new tram system is built in the western part of Waterbeach following the Fast Transport Plan, the probability of people driving to work can be reduced from over 50% to 15.6% and the traffic volume generated can be reduced by 45%. People become more likely to choose public transport (including tram and train) rather than driving to Cambridge. By adopting the Transit and Housing Coordinated Development Plan, the traffic volume generated can be further decreased by 7.4%. Above result implies that the built form typologies, building locations, transport infrastructure locations and transport system performance can codetermine people’s transport choice, and then further influences local transport system performance. This will form a recursive loop, and the system will finally achieve a dynamic transport demand - building supply equilibrium.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.