The call came in draft guidance accompanying a new policy document on strategic transport planning put out for consultation.
The document follows informal consultation on last year's Towards a Sustainable Transport System paper, which responded to recommendations made in the Eddington and Stern reviews (Planning, 2 November, p6).
Steer Davies Gleave associate and RTPI transport network member Chris Ferrary said the guidance seriously underestimates transport planners' ability to simultaneously take on economic growth and climate change.
The DfT will publish its response to the consultation in the spring. A white paper outlining investment plans will follow in 2012.
Meanwhile, transport secretary Geoff Hoon has set out £1 billion of investment of which £700 million will go to dualling the A46, extra train carriages and more managed motorway schemes. A further £300 million will help improve links to key airports and ports.
The Campaign for Better Transport called the funding "a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly".
Delivering a Sustainable Transport System is available at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc.