Spatial impact of roads

April 2011, researcher Henar Salas Olmedo obtained her PhD title in Geography and Spatial Planning at the University of Cantabria, Santander (Spain). Her thesis – THE SPATIAL IMPACT OF ROADS – discusses land use changes around heavy road infrastructure and was supervised by Dra. Soledad Nogués. Merten Nefs was asked to review and comment the thesis as external expert.

“Nowadays, transport has become an essential activity is our society. The role transport plays has such an importance that it is frequently named as a basic factor to generate
development. This document deals specifically with the effects of highways on the spatial pattern of population, firms and the hierarchy of settlements in relatively peripheral areas in the EU context, that is, not large metropolitan areas but subregional areas with some transport infrastructures with a low level of dynamism. […]
Two study areas are compared: Doncaster Metropolitan Borough, which contains two motorway crossings, and the Lincoln Policy Area, which is a crossroads for several trunk  roads. The comparative analysis and diagnosis of these areas led to some significant conclusions: the motorway-connected area shows a greater dispersion of industrial and service than residential land uses; the dispersion of residential areas in the trunk-road area starts later but with a similar, or even more intense, trend; the primate city is more and more dominant in the trunk-road area, whereas in the motorway-connected area intermediate towns are increasing their functions; and commuting flows are relatively more numerous, although shorter and spatially more concentrated, in the trunk-road area.”