Moving the 15-minute city beyond the urban core: The role of accessibility and public transport in the Netherlands

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, policy - equity, policy - sustainable, planning - surveys


15-minute city, equity, sustainability


The 15-minute city – providing every resident's daily needs within a 15-minute walk, cycle or public transportation ride – has recently gained popularity among policy makers as a means for a more sustainable and just future. While the goal of a more equitable and sustainable city is laudable, we note that half of the world's population (still) lives in non-urban areas and thus seek to explore how the concept of the 15-minute city might extend into suburbs, exurbs and even the countryside. We do this via an empirical analysis of 16 years of travel survey data in the Netherlands and evaluate the relevance of the 15-minute city concept in non-urban areas. We frame our analysis via three specific aspects of the 15-minute concept: (i) differences in reliance on cars in urban and non-urban areas; (ii) differences in extra travel time across the urban-rural continuum if all car-based trips were replaced by public transport; and (iii) the effect of accessibility of goods and services on extra travel time if all car-based trips were replaced by public transport. Based on our findings, we argue that practical implementations of the 15-minute city (focused on the urban core) risk missing the particular challenges facing non-urban neighborhoods, especially in terms of car reliance. As planners rush to address the affordable housing crisis in the Netherlands and elsewhere, these short-comings highlight the importance of expanding research and policy practice in terms of scope (i.e. including non-urban areas) and focus (i.e. considering other reasons for individual travel beyond goods and services) to better reflect the lived experience of people across all geographies.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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