There is now an increased understanding of the need to design urban transport and land-use systems to be more sustainable, and of the policies which are needed to achieve this. However, work by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport has highlighted the institutional, acceptability, financial, information, regulatory and process barriers to implementing them. These barriers are evident in the UK, even though it has a particularly developed approach to local transport planning. As a contribution to overcoming them, a 4-year research programme has been conducted to develop decision-support tools for local government. The paper describes the international background to this research programme, its objectives and overall structure and its interaction with local authorities. The barriers to sustainability identified by the programme's local authority partners are presented, the development of the selected products from the research programme is outlined and the challenges in transferring them into practice are discussed. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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