Accessibility of local amenities to reduce car dependency: Obsolete concept or change yet to come? The Prague case.


  • Jan Bittner Czech Technical University in Prague


car dependency, travel behavior, amenities accessibility, suburbs, Prague




The sudden transition from central planning to a free market in Eastern Bloc countries caused uncoordinated and deregulated growth followed by sheer car ownership. Extensive suburban areas heavily dependent on cars exploded around larger cities (Stanilov and Sýkora 2014). Nowadays, ongoing climate changes, technological revolution, and planned energetic transition bring entirely new challenges to urban transport planning (Shakibamanesh et al. 2020). Such challenges also draw attention to the question of car dependency in the Czech planning practice. In response, Czech local plans started working with various planning practices to reduce car dependency in suburban areas. One of the most widespread practices constitutes retrofitting of local amenities in suburban residential areas. Since such practice is part of various well-established global urban concepts (New Urbanism, low-traffic neighbourhoods, TOD, 15-minute city, etc.), the relationship between amenities and transport has been well-researched for decades in the USA and Western Europe (Ewing and Cervero 2010; Næss 2022). Thus, solid evidence in various backgrounds supports Western urban transport planning, whereas Czech planning remains to hover “in the dark” without empirical findings concerning specific central European contexts.

This paper aims to present a novel interdisciplinary framework investigating the phenomenon of urban transport based on behavioural aspects of mobility interaction with the built environment in the Czech-specific context. The central research question lies in testing the influence of the accessibility of local amenities on car dependency within the suburbs of Prague. The work utilises an activity-based modelling technique (Ortúzar and Willumsen 2011; Kagho et al. 2020) to quantify individual travel behaviour using geolocated travel diaries. The method is based on regression modelling where total car PMT (person miles travelled) constitute the dependent variable, local amenities accessibility independent variables, and personal socio-economic background plus built environment characteristics control variables (Stoker et al. 2015). Local amenities (independent variables) are considered as kindergarten, primary school, corner shop, GP and dentist, library, community centre, and outdoor/indoor sports ground. The regression outcomes are put into the context of contemporary planning practice in selected case studies.

The work brings much-needed empirical evidence for the assessment of the current Czech planning practice course in times of rapid changes.


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