Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled Through Smart Land-Use Design, New York State Department of Transportation (December 2011). This report is designed to assist planning and transportation organizations in New York State identify methods that better reflect the benefits of proposed smart growth strategies in travel demand forecasting. The study examined two approaches for increasing the sensitivity of transportation models to smart growth impact using the Greater Buffalo/Niagara metropolitan area as a case study. The report’s findings support claims that smart growth strategies can reduce vehicle trips, encourage non-motorized modes, decrease average trip length, and reduce daily VMT.
Driving and the Built Environment: Effects of Compact Development on Motorized Travel, Energy Use, and CO2 Emissions (October 2009). TRB Special Report 298 examines the relationship between land development patterns and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the United States to assess whether petroleum use, and by extension greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, could be reduced by changes in the design of development patterns. The report estimates the contributions that changes in residential and mixed-use development patterns and transit investments could make in reducing VMT by 2030 and 2050, and the impact this could have in meeting future transportation-related GHG reduction goals. Commissioned papers used by the committee to help develop Special Report 298 are available online and are listed below. A four page summary of and a press release on the report is also available online.
Relationships between Land Use and Freight and Commercial Truck Traffic in Metropolitan Areas. M.S. Bronzini, George Mason University (2008). This special study was prepared for the 2009 TRB Policy Study on "Driving and the Built Environment," Special Report 298.
Key Relationships between the Built Environment and VMT, Brownstone, D., University of California, Irvine: (Completed 2008). This paper critically examines the current literature on the relationships between the built environment and household vehicle miles traveled (VMT). One of the key conclusions from this review is that the magnitude of the link between the built environment and VMT is so small that feasible changes in the built environment will only have negligible impacts on VMT. This report was prepared for the 2009 TRB Policy Study on "Driving and the Built Environment," Special Report 298
Metropolitan Spatial Trends in Employment and Housing: Literature Review, G.A. Giuliano, Agarwal, and C. Redfearn (2008). This paper provides a critical review of the literature on recent spatial trends in US metropolitan areas. It summarizes postwar trends to 1980 in decentralization of population and employment growth, decline in employment growth in CBDs, and decreases in metropolitan densities. It finds that these broad trends have continued since 1980, but that these trends mask variation within and between US metropolitan areas. The report includes a case study of the Los Angeles region to illustrate the type of research that would improve understanding of changing spatial structure. This paper was prepared for the 2009 TRB Policy Study on "Driving and the Built Environment," Special Report 298.
GHG Emissions Control Options: Opportunities for Conservation, K. Kockelman, M. Bomberg, M. Thompson, and C. Whitehead, University of Texas at Austin (2009). This paper summarizes the magnitude of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions one can expect from a variety of policies and design strategies, including vehicle technologies, transport modes, fuel types, appliances, home and building design, and land use patterns. Through a detailed review of existing literature, the paper identifies the greatest opportunities for carbon savings, reflecting, to some extent, cost implications and behavioral shifts needed. Greatest near-term gains mostly emerge in relatively conventional vehicle design shifts, dietary changes, and home weathering. In the medium term, significant energy and emissions savings are likely to come from fuel economy regulations approximating those abroad, appliance upgrades, plug-in hybrid purchases, home heating and cooling practices, and power generation processes. In the longer term, building design practices, carbon capture and sequestration, and a shift towards cellulosic and other fuels appear promising. Ultimately, however, to achieve 50- to 80-percent reductions in GHG emissions, relative to current or past levels, major behavioral shifts are probably needed, motivated by significant fuel economy legislation, energy taxes, household-level carbon budgets, and cooperative behavior in the interest of the global community. This paper was prepared for the 2009 TRB Policy Study on "Driving and the Built Environment," Special Report 298.
U.S. Housing Trends: Generational Changes and the Outlook to 2050, J. Pitkin, J., and D. Meyers, University of Southern California (2008). The central concern of this paper is how and to what degree development trends in the next half century will depart from those of the last. It arrives at three broad conclusions: (a) major generational transition will remake housing markets; (b) substantially lower replacement rates for housing are foreseen; and (c) locational impacts of housing adjustments depend on specific dynamics. The paper also identifies additional research needed in these areas. This paper was prepared for the 2009 TRB Policy Study on "Driving and the Built Environment," Special Report 298.
Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes Handbook, Transportation Research Board (2008). This sourcebook examines how travel demand is affected by transportation system changes and built environment options. Strategies examined include multimodal/ intermodal facilities, transit facilities and services, public transit operations, transportation pricing, land use and non-motorized travel, and transportation demand management.
Integrated State and Local Government Policy Approaches to Transportation and Climate Change - Summary of the Executive Peer Exchange, NCHRP Project 08-36 (94), Steve Winkelman, Chartles Kooshian, and Allison Bishins, Center for Clean Air Policy (March 2010). This summarizes a workshop of intergovernmental teams from California, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, and Washington. The purpose of the workshop was to share progress in implementing projects that would reduce transportation GHG emissions, through reducing VMT or improving system efficiency.
Role of Brownfield Developments in Reducing Household Vehicle Travel, American Society of Civil Engineers (Sept. 12, 2012). This study published in ASCE’s Journal of Urban Planning and Development examines the effect of residential brownfield developments on household vehicle travel reduction and resulting costs such as fuel and air pollution. The study, which looked at 16 brownfields and development sites in four U.S. cities, found that residential brownfield developments provide an average reduction in vehicle kilometers travelled of 52 percent compared to conventional greenfield developments. The study also found an average reduction of time and fuel cost of 60 percent and an external environmental cost savings of 66 percent. In addition, the study compares the resulting costs with the initial one-time cleanup cost of brownfields sites.
Worldwide Situation of Road Pricing and Assessment of Its Impacts (free download with registration), World Road Association (PIARC) (May 23, 2012). This report provides a review of road pricing schemes in 22 countries and identifies trends such as the widespread use of tolls and the tendency for vignette systems to decline with the emergence of distance-based pricing schemes. The report also includes case studies of the impacts of different road pricing methods on the characteristics of mobility, the environment, road safety, the economy, land use and accessibility, social equity, and attitudes toward road pricing.
Use of Performance Measurement to Include Air Quality and Energy into Mileage-Based User Fees, Texas Transportation Institute (April 2012). The Texas Transportation Institute and the University Transportation Center for Mobility at Texas A&M University have issued a report on a study to assess the feasibility of levying mileage-based user fees as a means to reduce motor vehicle emissions. The study used six measures to determine a pricing framework for the fees, including both static vehicle characteristics and dynamic driving behavior and road conditions. The study also assessed pricing models, methods of billing individual drivers, and barriers to adoption of policy.
FHWA Updates Method for Calculating Vehicle Miles Traveled, Federal Highway Administration (Sept. 30, 2011). FHWA has announced an update to its methodology for calculating annual vehicles miles (VMT) traveled to reflect improvements over the last decade in the way states collect travel data. According to FHWA, the new approach employs “more consistent, complete data gathered directly from the states and ensures more accurate calculations for VMT by vehicle type.”
Europe’s Vibrant New Low Car(bon) Communities, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (September 2011). This report includes case studies of eight new developments in Europe where ‘smart’ urban and transportation planning and design measures have been successful in reducing car use, associated greenhouse gas emissions, and other public health impacts. The case studies include background information on the developments and describe how different measures were employed to discourage private car use and increase the attractiveness of walking, cycling, transit, and vehicle sharing.
The Role of Driving in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Oil Consumption, World Resources Institute (July 2011). This report explores whether technology improvements alone can achieve national and international oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The report also evaluates federal transportation programs for their impact on GHG emissions, oil consumption, and vehicle miles traveled. In addition, the report makes suggestions for modifications to federal policy to further reduce climate impacts.
EPA Releases Trip Generation Analysis Tool for Mixed-Use Development, Environmental Protection Agency (June 29, 2011). EPA has developed a spreadsheet tool that allows users to estimate trips generated by new mixed-used development projects. The spreadsheet tool, which uses models developed in cooperation with the Institute of Transportation Engineers, estimates vehicle trips during peak periods and for an entire day, predicts trips by walking and transit, and estimates the daily vehicle miles of travel associated with the development. The tool requires users to input data about the development site and its surrounding area, including geographic, demographic, and land use characteristics.
Urban Distribution Centers: A Means to Reducing Freight Vehicle Miles Traveled, New York State Department of Transportation (March 2011). This report examines the model of freight consolidation platforms and urban distribution centers (UDCs) as a means to address the “last mile” issue of urban freight movement and reduce vehicle miles traveled and associated environmental impacts. The report also identifies the key characteristics that make UDCs successful, discusses the contextual settings under which they work best, and includes case studies applicable to the New York metropolitan region.
California's SB375: A Closer Look at the Numbers, Sarah J. Siwek, January 2011. This article discusses SB375, California's much touted effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through integrating land use, housing, and transportation policy. The law is targeted to achieve a 3 million metric ton CO2 equivalent reduction in greenhouse gases from a base year of 2005 by 2020. This is roughly 1.7 percent of the overall GHG reductions planned for California by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In fact, although per capita GHG emissions may decrease as a result of SB375, it is expected that there will be a net increase in total GHG transportation-related emissions once expected population growth is factored in. The total weekday on-road CO2 emissions in all 18 metropolitan planning organizations impacted by SB375 is expected to grow from 372,536 tons in 2005 to 426,938 in 2020 and to 501,086 in 2035, a 34.5 percent increase. Population growth in these MPO regions is expected to grow 43 percent over this period. This article, written by Sarah J. Siwek, takes a closer look at the SB375 program to put its potential in perspective. In addition, some key SB375 implementation issues are discussed.
Impacts of VMT Reduction Strategies on Selected Areas and Groups, Washington State Department of Transportation (December 2010). This research report examines the impacts of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction strategies on five selected and geographic areas, as mandated by 2008 state legislation that set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and called for VMT reductions of 18 percent by the year 2020, 30 percent by the year 2035, and 50 percent by 2050. The report estimates the economic impacts on the selected groups and areas and suggests several implementation steps and areas for further research.
Research on Factors Relating to Density and Climate Change, National Association of Home Builders (June 2010). This report, prepared by Abt Associates for NAHB, provides a review and synthesis of nearly 200 studies on density, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the report, the consensus of the literature is that large increases in residential density – a doubling of current levels of density – do reduce VMT, vehicle trips, auto ownership, and the likelihood of commuting to work by car by modest amounts (roughly 5 percent reductions in VMT and vehicle trips). Research suggests that doubling density in combination with other policies could have more significant impacts on travel behavior – such as reductions in VMT on the order of 25 percent to 30 percent. Other factors, such as employment density, appear to be more important in some aspects of travel behavior, such as mode choice, than residential density.
Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change, Reid Ewing, et al. (October 2007). The Urban Land Institute (ULI) and other organizations commissioned this report to address the relationship between urban development, travel, and GHG emissions from automobiles. The other organizations that sponsored the report were Smart Growth America, the Center for Clean Air Policy, and the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education.
New Data for a New Era: A Summary of SMARTAQ Findings: Linking Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality, and Health in the Atlanta Region (January 2007). SMARTRAQ, a collaboration between Georgia Tech and the Georgia Department of Transportation. This report summarizes the results of one of the largest, most comprehensive planning studies yet undertaken for a large metropolitan area. Dubbed SMARTRAQ (Strategies for Metro Atlanta's Transportation and Air Quality), it is an ambitious attempt to understand how the layout of our neighborhoods, cities and region affects the amount of driving, walking or riding on transit that we do, and how those travel patterns in turn affect our personal and environmental health. Beyond that, the study probes the neighborhood preferences of metro residents to gain a sense of the market for various alternatives. The study was sponsored by federal and state transportation, environmental and health agencies, with assistance from a local foundation and non-profit organizations.
CCAP Transportation Emissions Guidebook, Part One: Land Use, Transit, and Travel Demand Management and Part Two: Vehicle Technology and Fuels, Center for Clean Air Policy (Part I completed in 2005 Part II completed in 2006). Part One of this report focuses on policies related to travel demand and examines the impacts of land use and investment decisions on transportation emissions. Policies analyzed include transit-oriented development, bicycle initiatives, pay-as-you-drive insurance, light rail, comprehensive smart growth policy, etc. Part Two focuses on measures that influence vehicle technology, fuel and operational choices that impact transportation emissions. Policies discussed include: feebates, hybrid vehicles, biofuels, low-rolling resistance tires, truck stop and vessel electrification, locomotive technologies, driver training, etc.
Implementing the Most Effective Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Strategies to Quickly Reduce Oil Consumption, Kathy Leotta (Parson Brinckerhoff) (January 2007). This report helps local and regional government agencies prepare for fuel supply disruptions by (1) describing fuel supply vulnerabilities, (2) reviewing lessons learned from previous fuel supply disruptions, (3) identifying the transportation demand management strategies that offer the most potential to quickly reduce fuel and oil consumption, (4) suggesting implementation timeframes and potential barriers to implementation for these strategies, and (5) recommending pre-planning actions to better prepare for an oil supply disruption. As a case study, this report describes strategies that could be implemented in the central Puget Sound region.
Transportation Demand Management Programs as an Emissions Reduction Strategy: New Challenges and Opportunities, ICF (2007). This report examines TMD strategies and their impacts on air quality.