The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


SCATTER: Sprawling Cities & Transport: From Evaluation to Recommendations

Urban sprawl is endemic to urban growth. It induces a high level of car use and congestion on roads particularly in and around major centres. To limit the damage caused by urban sprawl in terms of congestion, air pollution and energy consumption, many European cities are implementing suburban public transport policies involving heavy or light rail. But by improving accessibility, they create an incentive for a new wave of urban sprawl. Therefore, in parallel with new public transport services, accompanying measures have to be implemented to prevent, mitigate, and control further sprawl.

The aim of the SCATTER project is to analyse urban sprawl in Europe, to quantitatively evaluate measures aiming to control the phenomenon, and to provide practical recommendations and guidelines to local authorities on how to design accompanying measures to public transport investments and policies.

The project is part of the City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage Key Action of the European Commission EESD (Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development) Fifth Framework Programme and of the LUTR (Land Use and Transport Research) cluster. It involves a detailed review of the impact of sprawl and an assessment of policies in Europe and North America. It also involves the development of statistical measures of urban growth and the analysis of past growth patterns using these measures in six candidate cities: Bristol (UK) which CASA is studying, Brussels (Be), Rennes (Fr), Milan (It), Stuttgart (De) and Helsinki (Fi).

The project will also develop and apply land use-transportation models to test the impacts of policies designed to mitigate urban sprawl in the cities of Helsinki, Brussels and Stuttgart. The project is lead by STRATEC from Brussels.


  • Elena Bessusi
  • Nancy Chin
urbanism transport