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Effects of Built Environments on Vehicle Miles Traveled: Evidence from 370 US Urbanized Areas
Concerns over rising fuel prices and greenhouse-gas emissions have prompted research into the influences of built environments on travel, notably vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Accessibility to basic employment has comparatively modest effects, as do size of urbanized area, and rail-transit supplies and usage. Nevertheless, urban planning and city design should be part of any strategic effort to shrink the environmental footprint of the urban transportation sector.
Research findings are consistent with those of other researchers who claim that urban planning and city design should be part of the solution in stabilizing global climates.
We found a moderately strong negative elasticity between population density and VMT/Cap, we also found that the positive association between neighborhood density and roadway provisions, as well as retail accessibility, moderated these effects. By extension, this suggests that the largest VMT reductions would come from creating compact communities which have below-average roadway provisions, more pedestrian/cycling infrastructure, and in-neighborhood retail activities which invite non motorized travel.
Biofuels, plug-in hybrids, and technological advancements can provide supply-side fixes.
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