This paper describes how current transport systems and transport planning methods and models are not necessarily compatible with the requirements of sustainable transport development. Adequate transport systems can only be obtained by the use of a sustainable transport paradigm and an accompanying analytical framework. Therefore, this paper presents a theoretical framework, which is based on a paradigm for sustainable transport development. This paradigm advocates a comprehensive decision-making that anticipates and manages scarce resource use, including environment and finance, while developing the transport system in terms of quality of access and/or person throughput. Furthermore, a simplified version of a dynamic optimization model that can assist in the complex and political decision-making process with respect to sustainable transport development is introduced, based on the conceptualization and characterization of the sustainable urban transport development problem as a constrained optimization problem. Based on Pontryagin’s Maximum Principle, the dynamic model reveals control paths for achieving a sustainable and developed transport system. The model in its present form can be applied directly to strategic networks of limited numbers of (aggregated) zones and (aggregated) links.
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