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Stop Sprawl
Curbing Sprawl to Curb Global Warming

Dr. John Holtzclaw


Motor Vehicle Emissions
Scale of Impact

In 1987, highway fuel use, including diesel, in the U.S. contributed 309 million tons of carbon as CO2, or 370 million tons for the full fuel production and use cycle, but not including construction of roads or production of vehicles (OECD 1993, Table 8). These comprise 22.4% and 26.9% of total U.S. fossil fuel emissions of CO2. Similarly, highway fuel use contributed 802 million tons of carbon worldwide, or 955 million tons for the full fuel production and use cycle. These comprise 13.7% and 16.4% of total fossil fuel emissions of CO2.

The fraction of CO2 emitted by motor vehicle use is rising. Between 1986 and 1995, personal vehicle fuel consumption rose 1.6%/year in the U.S., 1.9% in former West Germany, 2.5% in the U.K., 1.9% in France and 5.4% in Japan, with no indication of a decline in growth, see Table 1 (Davis 1997, Table 1.10). These growths in fuel use resulted from growths in personal vehicle passenger mile growths of 2.4%, 5.1%, 3.4%, 3.0%, and 4.9%, respectively, in this same period (Davis 1997, Table 1.9).

Motor vehicles are also the single largest emitter of criteria pollutants. In the U.S., vehicles emit 60% of CO, 29% of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and 31% of NOx (EPA 1998, 5-2). VOC and NOx are the precursors to the criteria pollutant ozone.

Reduction in the growth of vehicle miles traveled primarily will require changes in behaviors rather than improvements in technology. This growth results from a higher fraction of trips by private auto (mode) and longer trips. The challenge is to reduce the length of most trips and to identify and implement strategies to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use.

Causes

High levels of motor vehicle ownership and use are driven by sprawling land use patterns which require long, dispersed trips, by poor public transit service (itself a consequence of sprawl), and by subsidies to motor vehicle use.

Land use and public transit. In a survey of 32 major cities around the world, Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy (1989) found that the residents of American cities consumed nearly twice as much gasoline per capita as Australians, nearly four times as much as the more compact European cities and ten times that of three compact westernized Asian cities, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, see Figure 1. Gasoline use increased as urban density decreased both within the subset of American cities and worldwide. Higher densities shorten travel distances because increasing density increases the number of nearby destinations. Higher density areas also tend to be mixed-use, that is they allow markets, restaurants and services in residential areas while low density areas isolate these into shopping centers.

Newman and Kenworthy’s data show that residents of the densest American urban area, Manhattan, consume 1/7 as much gasoline per capita as the average American.

Using the 1990 National Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), Robert Dunphy and Kimberly Fisher (1996) reported on the average vehicle miles traveled (VMT) of the respondents, aggregating together households from around the country whose ZIP codes had the same population density. Analysis of Dunphy and Fisher’s Table 4 shows a decrease of 21% in daily driving every time population density doubles across the whole density range. For the five ranges above 4000 persons/square mile (about 5 to 6 households/residential acre, a high suburban density) the decrease is 38% in daily driving every time density doubles, explaining 86% of the variance.

Using odometer readings taken when private motor vehicle emissions are inspected, John Holtzclaw, et al, analyzed all the 3000 travel analysis zones in the Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas. They found residential density to have the strongest impact on household auto ownership and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), giving R2 (amount of variance explained) of 85% and 86%, respectively, in Chicago; 56% and 63% in Los Angeles; and 63% and 63% in San Francisco.

Further, the detailed statistical analysis gave similar equations in all three metropolitan areas. In Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, 96%, 79% and 90%, respectively, of the variance in vehicle ownership is explained by residential density, per capita income, household size and public transit service. Similarly, 93%, 80% and 87% of the variance in annual household VMT is explained by residential density, per capita income, household size, transit service and pedestrian/bicycle friendliness. Figure 1 shows the impact of residential density and public transit frequency on VMT in the San Francisco area for families with the same income and household size, and living in neighborhoods with the same pedestrian/bicycle friendliness. Public transit frequency is the number of buses stopping within 1/4 mile of the average house in the zone, plus the number of passenger railcars or ferries stopping within _ mile of the average house in the zone.

Worldwide urban sprawl is lowering average residential densities, increasing auto ownership and driving. John Pucher and Christian Lefevre (1996) chronicle these trends in Europe and North America: since 1970 sprawl has grown and driving has increased faster than population growth, while the fraction of trips by foot, bicycle or public transit is down. Fast growing Asian, African and South American cities are following the same trends.

Sprawl is a problem which is increasing trip lengths even in U.S. urban areas where growth is stagnant. The six-county Chicago metro area grew by only 4% between 1970 and 1990, for instance, while developed land grew 55%. Reversal of these trends is necessary to reduce VMT growth.

Motor vehicle external costs. Americans’ external costs of driving (some call this subsidies) equal $3.00 to $7.00 for every gallon of gas consumed, according to six recent studies, see Table 2. Where do these external costs occur? Fuel taxes only pay for highway construction, not for construction and maintenance of local streets and roads. The external costs include the costs of local roads, policing and motorist protection not paid for by the gas tax; "free" parking; uninsured accidents; noise; vibration damage to structures; pollution damage to human health, crops and structures; global warming; petroleum subsidies; policing the petroleum supply line, or wars in the Mid-East; and congestion. Non-drivers subsidize driving when they pay income, sales, property and other taxes used for parking, roads, health care and fighting wars. They subsidize drivers through health or other costs of pollution, or when goods or services include free parking or higher worker health care.

Even when drivers bear these costs as a group, they are non-marginal (individual drivers do not pay in proportion to how much they drive), and so provide little incentive for efficient travel (Litman 1998b). This is also inequitable, because it forces those who drive less than average (who tend to be lower income) to subsidize the vehicle costs of vehicle owners who drive more than average. Fixed internal costs of motor vehicles are an equally significant problem. In particular, fixed vehicle insurance, registration fees, free residential parking, and relatively poor residential vehicle rental options represent "underpricing" that contributes about as much to vehicle overuse as do external costs (Litman 1998b). It is also unfair because lower-mileage drivers end up subsidizing the vehicle costs of high-mileage drivers. While it is true that public transit is also subsidized, Miller and Moffet (1993) calculate that public transit external costs, or subsidies, about equal private motor vehicle external costs per passenger mile. Since private motor vehicle trips average 3 to 4 times longer than public transit trips, their external costs per trip are 3 to 4 times higher than those for public transit.

Most countries have much higher priced gasoline than the U.S., primarily due to fuel taxes. Stacey Davis (1997, Table 1.3) noted that in 1996 Americans paid an average of $1.28/gallon, while Canadians paid $1.80, Germans paid $4.32, Britains paid $3.47, French paid $4.41, Japanese paid $3.77, Indians paid $2.25 and Chinese paid $0.93. In addition most countries have much higher taxes on automobile purchases and registration. John Pucher and Christian Lefevre (1996) report that European fuel taxes are 5 to 10 times higher than U.S. taxes. They report that U.S. sales taxes range from 5 to 8% from state to state while in Europe they range between 25% all the way up to 180% (Denmark). Countries with fuel taxes above $3.00/gallon have substantially lower external costs of driving than the U.S.

Freight. Energy use in movement of goods has soared due to increased distances goods are shipped, and a shift from the more efficient to less efficient modes. Davis (1997, Table 1.11) reports that total energy use in freight has increased significantly since 1970, see Table 3. Davis (1997, Table 1.11) further reports that the energy use by trucks doubled or nearly doubled in every country, while that by ships and rail decreased in this time period for each country except by ships in Italy and U.K., and by rail in Australia.

Pastowski (1997) suggests the following reasons for increased shipping distances. First, shipping is superfluous (and probably resulting from advertising) when products which are produced locally at comparable or better quality and lower prices are shipped from long distances. Second, regulations, such as restricting regional specialties to production within a certain region even thought they could be produced by the same recipe elsewhere, and subsidies aimed at achieving other goals may increase shipping. Third, economic integration which allows production to move to where labor costs are lower increases shipping.

Residential Emissions

The residences of families living in dense urban areas require only a fraction of the land and construction materials of single family dwellings, and use much less heating and cooling energy and water. By definition, 1000 urban residences at 100 units/acre covers only 3% as much land as 1000 single family dwellings at 3 units/acre. Removing the flora from land for residential development reduces its ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Michael Phillips and Robert Gnaizda (1980) compared a recently constructed middle class single family tract in Davis with a middle class apartment house near downtown San Francisco, they got the results in Table 4. The single-family home dwellers drove nearly 4 times as much. The run of the mill urban apartments use less than 1/5 as much heating fuel as the state-of-the-art energy-efficient Davis single-family houses located in a somewhat warmer climate. Sharing walls and floors/ceilings saves heat. Exposing less wall and roof area to the sun reduces summer air conditioning loads. Residential and commercial heating, cooling, lighting and motors consume 20 percent of our country’s oil. And the single-family houses consumed 40 times as much arable land--farmlands, hillsides and wetlands. And they required 5 times as much utility pipes. Each of these reductions in resource consumption at the higher density reduces the production of global warming gases.

The second study, Table 5, is an extensive analysis of two models of suburban growth. James Frank (1989) compared typical suburban single-family housing with suburban "high rise apartments." However, at 30 units/acre, these "high rise apartments" are actually less dense than many urban neighborhoods. Densities of 50 to 100 units/acre are common with 3 to 6 story apartments, and to 400 with occasional high-rises and no front-yard setbacks. Since the study is of suburban "high rise apartments" with little transit, much land set is aside for parking lots, driveways and lawns. Even these modest densities save considerable materials when compared with single family dwellings. The single family houses consume 4 times as much land for streets and roads and 10 times as much for the houses themselves. The single family houses use nearly 6 times as much metal and concrete. They cost 3 times as much to supply with schools. Each of these reductions in resource consumption at the higher density reduces the production of global warming gases.

Strategies for Reducing the Impacts on Global Warming

  1. Increase neighborhood convenience -- increase residential densities. Increasing residential density reduces construction materials required and motor vehicle use; both lower global warming gas emissions. Central cities and sprawling suburban areas can both benefit from creating more convenient pedestrian- and transit-oriented neighborhoods. Most central cities have brownfields and underused lands which are prime candidates for infill. Most sprawling areas have ample parking lots and decaying shopping areas, especially along major streets, which are candidates for infill development.
  2. a. Eliminate front and side yard setback requirements in zoning ordinances.

    b. Increase allowed building heights and floor-to-area ratios in zoning ordinances, especially near public transit centers and along public transit corridors. Zone for and encourage infill development on unused or underused land (empty lots, parking lots, abandoned buildings, service stations and brownfields--abandoned industrial land). Promote interesting diversity by including a variety of housing types, unit sizes, rents and prices. Site new development near transit, stores and services.

    c. Bring neighborhood residents together with planning officials to evaluate the benefits of infill development, including walkable streets, nearby restaurants, stores, services and better public transit, and to decide where and how infill should occur in their neighborhood. Rezone based upon the results of these planning charettes. These changes support infill housing developers.

    d. Bring back downtown living. Encourage apartment and condo development downtown.

    e. Replace off-street parking minimums with off-street parking maximums in zoning ordinances, and severely restrict the ground coverage of any parking facilities.

    f. Delink the purchase or rental of parking from the purchase or rental of apartments or condos so households can buy or rent housing without parking.

    g. Legalize second, or "in-law" units, especially in single family areas in order to put basements, garages or unused rooms to use.

    h. Provide adequate public parks and open space for nearby residents. Halt sprawl development on the periphery by establishing urban growth boundaries.

    i. Include an air quality element in each city’s Comprehensive Plan.

    j. Implement Location Efficient Mortgages. These allow households moving into dense, transit-served neighborhoods to qualify for a larger mortgage based upon their expected average saving from owning fewer cars and driving less than households moving into single family areas. If the expected auto savings is $500 per month, the household should qualify for a mortgage with $500 larger monthly housing payments. Location Efficient Mortgages are being developed in Chicago and other American cities.

    Cost-effectiveness. Since each of these measures facilitates the development of more efficient cities, reducing land, construction, operating and transportation costs, there is a profit rather than a cost of implementation.

    Federal and state actions to promote implementation:

    • increase public transit funding and other rewards to transit systems with higher passenger-trips per vehicle (not passenger-miles, which rewards long trips serving sprawling areas).
    • prohibit public agencies or utilities from passing the extra costs of serving sprawling on to those in efficient areas.
    • reward local governments for eliminating front- and side-yard setbacks, for increasing building heights and floor-to-area ratios, for encouraging affordable housing construction, legalizing second units, and for eliminating parking minimums, especially in public transit corridors.
    • reward local governments for allowing builders height bonuses in exchange for preserving public open space and habitat, and for establishing tight, enforceable urban limit lines.
    • give tax breaks and other rewards for development on brownfields, parking lots and abandoned buildings.
    • mandate broad and informed public participation in transportation and land use planning by requiring public agencies to supply adequate modeling and description of impacts, design charettes, etc.
    • mandate an air quality element in each city’s Comprehensive Plan.
    • facilitate Location Efficient Mortgages to allow home purchasers in dense areas to qualify for larger loans based upon their predicted transportation savings.

  3. Zone residential areas to allow mixed uses. This would allow jobs, markets, restaurants, video rentals and other neighborhood businesses in residential areas. In denser areas many of these would be mom and pop markets on residential streets. In less dense neighborhoods these businesses could be kept on major streets--but in the neighborhood, not stuck off in a shopping center 5 miles away, accessible only by freeway.

    Cost-effectiveness. Since this facilitates the development of more efficient cities, reducing land, construction, operating and transportation costs, there is a profit rather than a cost of implementation.

    Federal and state actions to promote implementation:

    • reward local governments for facilitating mixed use developments, especially in public transit corridors.
    • give tax breaks and other rewards for mixed use developments.
    • mandate broad and informed public participation in transportation and land use planning by requiring public agencies to supply adequate modeling and description of impacts, design charettes, etc.
    • facilitate construction funding and mortgages for mixed-use buildings.


  4. Create pedestrian-, bicycle- and transit-friendly walkways and streets.

    a. Create an efficient pedestrian street grid not broken by dead ends, freeways, fences or drainage ditches. The traditional rectilinear street grid, with short blocks, offers many alternative paths, allowing the walker to explore different streets, find favorites, and to link trips more easily. Winding streets, intersected by dead-ends and cul d’ sacs require longer trips and allow no such variety.

    b. Build sidewalks on both sides of all streets; with bus shelters, seating and other sidewalk furniture; trees, awnings and weather protection; and fountains, interesting store windows and other attractions.

    c. Zone to locate building entrances near sidewalks so pedestrians need not walk through a parking lot or tread a long path.

    d. Calm traffic so it is safe and slow, with drivers alert for pedestrians and children rather than intent on getting through the area speedily. Or at least protect sidewalks from traffic and install frequent stop signs and lights to allow safe street crossing. Traffic calming can help change the culture of neighborhoods and rekindle interest in pedestrian friendly city living.

    European cities have developed traffic calming--attractive street designs to alert motorists that people are likely to be walking, biking or playing, and that it is dangerous to drive hazardously (Zuckermann 1991). Sidewalks are widened and streets are narrowed with on-street parking and plantings to create a sense of closeness and activity. Cross-walk color and texture, perhaps brick or cobblestone, differs from that of the roadway. Speed humps, speed brakes, rumble strips or other rough surfaces alert drivers audibly as well as visually. Narrowing streets at the intersection or mid-block to single lanes of traffic or off-setting lanes caution the driver to slow down and pay attention. Stop signs, turn-movement prohibitions and posted speed limits slow traffic. Landscaping and benches further convey the sense of people strolling and children playing. Some roads are closed to divert or limit traffic. These neighborhoods convey a sense of being somewhere, rather than a place to pass through. Since autos are given less land, more is available for natural habitats, creeks and wildlife corridors.

    Strictly limit highway capacity increases, and strategically reduce capacity in some areas.

    Cost-effectiveness. Since these measures facilitate the development of more efficient cities, reducing land, maintenance, transportation and vehicle crash costs, there is a profit rather than a cost of implementation.

    Federal and state actions to promote implementation:

    • maximize transportation funding for construction of sidewalks, bicycle facilities, traffic calming.
    • increase transportation funding to jurisdictions with the lowest VMT/capita, and with the highest percentage of trips by foot, bicycle, etc.
    • eliminate any prohibitions against local governments reducing traffic speeds or installing speed-limitation devices.
    • mandate provision of secure bicycle parking for employees and shoppers.
    • reward local governments for eliminating front- and side-yard setbacks and for eliminating parking minimums.
    • give tax breaks and other rewards for development on brownfields, parking lots and abandoned buildings.
    • mandate broad and informed public participation in transportation and land use planning by requiring public agencies to supply adequate modeling and description of impacts, design charettes, etc.
    • include greenhouse gas emissions in the evaluations of Regional Transportation Plans.
    • mandate an air quality element in each city’s Comprehensive Plan.


  5. Improve public transit service. Provide transit-only right-of-ways and rail service along major transit corridors and between major centers. Give public transit vehicles stop-light overrides. Coordinate public transit routing, schedules and fares. Improve pedestrian and bicycle access to public transit. The potential effectiveness of these measures is shown in Table 6.

    Cost-effectiveness. Improving public transit reduces total transportation costs giving a profit rather than a cost of implementation.

    Federal and state actions to promote implementation:

    • increase public transit capital and operating funding and other rewards to transit systems with higher passenger-trips per vehicle (not passenger-miles, which rewards long trips serving sprawling areas).
    • increase transportation funding to jurisdictions with the lowest VMT/capita, and with the highest percentage of trips by public transit.
    • eliminate any prohibition against spending gas taxes for capital and operations of public transit and for sidewalks.
    • mandate public transit provision of bicycle access to vehicles and secure bicycle parking.
    • maximize transportation funding for construction of sidewalks, bicycle facilities, traffic calming.
    • eliminate any prohibitions against local governments reducing traffic speeds or installing speed-limitation devices.
    • mandate broad and informed public participation in transportation and land use planning by requiring public agencies to supply adequate modeling and description of impacts, design charettes, etc.
    • mandate an air quality element in each city’s Comprehensive Plan.


    Counteract the external costs of private motor vehicle use. Table 2 lists the sources of subsidies to motor vehicle use in the U.S. While elimination of all the subsidies has not been analyzed, the potential effectiveness of reductions in some of them, along with land use changes, public transit and traffic improvements, is shown in Table 6.

    Todd Litman (1998a) suggests a package of win-win strategies that would cumulatively reduce driving by 35% to 60%:

    Remove federal subsidies to oil production. These include Petroleum Research and Development program funding, deductions on drilling costs and on oil wells, and royalty waivers on deep-water offshore drilling leases.

    Make employer provided transit benefits tax exempt. (Canada). Current Canadian federal tax policy allows most automobile commuters to receive untaxed free parking, while employer provided transit passes are fully taxed. Eliminating this bias increases transit commuting 5-20% among employees offered this benefit.

    State/Provincial. Distance based vehicle insurance and registration fees. Basing vehicle insurance and registration fees on distance traveled provides a significant financial incentive to reduce driving, and makes insurance premiums more fair and affordable. It would decrease vehicle travel by approximately 10%, reduce crash rates by a greater amount, increase equity, and save consumers money.

    Least-cost (or "integrated") transportation planning and funding. Least-cost planning means that programs to reduce demand are considered equally with programs to increase capacity, that all significant impacts are considered, and that the public is involved in developing and evaluating alternatives. This ensures that demand management strategies receive appropriate consideration and investment.

    Local and regional transportation demand management (TDM) programs. TDM programs include a wide variety of services, including rideshare matching, transit improvements, bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements, parking management, and promotion. These can provide significant financial savings to governments, businesses and consumers, as well as environmental benefits.

    More flexible zoning requirements. Parking requirements are often inflexible and over-generous. Local governments can reduce parking requirements for businesses that have travel management programs, or that are located in areas with good transit service. This gives employees and businesses more choices, and reduces vehicle use.

    Parking "Cash Out". "Cashing out" means that employees who receive free parking are also offered a cash alternative if they commute by other modes. This typically reduces driving by 10-30%, and increases equity by giving non-drivers a benefit comparable in value to what drivers receive.

    Transportation Management Associations. Transportation management associations provide services such as rideshare matching, transit information, and parking coordination in a commercial district or mall. This allows even small businesses to participate in commute trip reduction programs, and achieves more efficient use of resources.

    School trip management. Ten to fifteen percent of peak period vehicle trips involve parents driving children to school. School trip management programs encourage travel alternatives for these trips. This gives families more choices, encourages exercise, and reduces rush hour driving.

    Car sharing. Car sharing businesses and cooperatives allow clients to use motor vehicles by the hour or day, without high fixed ownership costs. This provides a strong financial incentive to use alternative modes when possible. Drivers who join such organizations typically reduce their vehicle use by 50%.

    Cost-effectiveness. These measures transfer costs from external (paid by the general public) to payment directly by the user while reducing total transportation costs; there is a profit rather than a cost of implementation.

    Federal and state actions to promote implementation:

    • calculate and publicize the external costs (subsidies) to motor vehicle use.
    • eliminate federal subsidies to oil production.
    • equalize the tax treatment between employer-provided parking, transit subsidies and parking cash-out.
    • mandate that all employees offered free or subsidized parking be offered parking cash-out.
    • enact distance based vehicle insurance and registration fees, and smog fees and increase gas taxes high enough to build and maintain local roads and provide fire, ambulance and police services to motorists.
    • increase transportation funding to jurisdictions with the lowest VMT/capita, and with the highest percentage of trips by foot, bicycle, etc.
    • facilitate implementation of transportation demand management and school trip management programs.
    • mandate broad and informed public participation in transportation and land use planning by requiring public agencies to supply adequate modeling and description of impacts, design charettes, etc.


  6. Freight. Pastowski (1997) suggest two strategies for reducing the shipping of goods and energy use in freight.

      Modifying the economic structure to a more environmentally sound one:

    • increase the share of parts and whole products which are produced locally or regionally.
    • reduce the tonnage of materials which circulate in the economy for a given unit of gross domestic product.
    • substitute the transfer of information for the transport of physical products.

      Dematerialization:

    • frugality.
    • share the use of products.
    • increase products durability so they last longer.
    • reduce the mass of materials used in products.
    • design products to enhance manufacturing and recycling of components and materials.


    Cost-effectiveness. These measures would reduce consumption and transportation costs resulting in a profit rather than a cost of implementation.

    Federal and state actions to promote implementation:

    • calculate and publicize the external costs (subsidies) to motor vehicle use.
    • eliminate federal subsidies to oil production.
    • enact distance based vehicle insurance and registration fees, and smog fees and increase gas taxes high enough to build and maintain local roads and provide fire, ambulance and police services to motorists.
    • mandate manufacturers to build products so that a high percentage can be reused and recycled.
    • mandate broad and informed public participation in transportation and land use planning by requiring public agencies to supply adequate modeling and description of impacts, design charettes, etc.


Traffic Calming Successes

Europe

Europeans have adopted "home zones," where traffic is slowed by lower posted speed limits and by traffic calming--redesign of the streets. The Dutch home zone design, called a 'woonerf', involves complete road resurfacing to create a level highway with no separate footway (the translation of 'woonerf' is 'living yard'). The Netherlands has had "woonerf" streets for 25 years, and now has 6,500, so Dutch highway authorities are adopting other strategies, including the use of 20 mph as a standard speed limit in residential areas. But local people in the Netherlands can still press for home zone status. Meanwhile home zones are being actively promoted by the German government. Austria brought in similar legislation in 1983 and Denmark in 1978. The street sign - showing a walker, a house, a child with a ball and a distant car - is internationally recognized.

North America

Traffic calming and 4-way stop signs reduce vehicle crashes and save lives (Insurance Institute 1998). From 1978 to 1992, replacing more than 400 signal lights in Philadelphia with four-way stop signs at mainly low volume intersections involving one-way streets reduced crashes 24 percent. Converting intersections with two-way stop signs into four-way stops reduced crashes by 40 to 60 percent and injury crashes by 50 to 80 percent. Closing Vancouver, Canada streets, designating one-way streets, installing stop signs and expanding sidewalks to make streets narrower reduced crash frequency an average 40 percent and insurance claims by 38 percent.

The United Kingdom’s New Transportation Policy

Exerpts from New Scientist editorial of 25 July 1998

Already the Road Traffic Reduction Act, passed this month, encourages local councils to cut traffic in their areas. Prescott’s new measures will beef up this rather vaguely worded law. Councils will be able to reduce traffic by charging motorists, and any money they raise this way will have to be spent on alternatives to car travel. In making this link, Prescott has won an important battle. The Treasury, like finance ministries everywhere, jealously defends its control over how public funds are spent. But this time it has had to give way, and allow taxes to be earmarked for a specific purpose.

That’s good news. But it is a pity that Prescott could not go one step further, and tax parking spaces provided for supermarket shoppers as well as those for companies' staff.

Exerpts From the Policy White Paper

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone

Developing an integrated transport policy represents a major shift in direction. We don't just want to stop traffic problems getting worse, we actually want to make things better for people and goods on the move' John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, 1997

Making it easier to walk

Our New Deal for transport will make walking a more viable, attractive and safe option. Strategies to make it easier to get around locally by walking will be included in the local transport plans that we will introduce.

We will expect local authorities to give more priority to walking by:

* reallocating road space to pedestrians, for example through wider pavements and pedestrianisation;

* providing more direct and convenient routes for walking;

* improving footpath maintenance and cleanliness;

* providing more pedestrian crossings, where pedestrians want to cross;

* reducing waiting times for pedestrians at traffic signals and giving them priority in the allocation of time at junctions where this supports more walking;

* dealing with those characteristics of traffic that deter people from walking;

* introducing traffic calming measures near schools, in 'home zones' and in selected country lanes;

* using their planning powers to ensure that the land use mix, layout and design of development is safe, attractive and convenient for walking.

Living town centres

Thriving town centres are the focus of urban life. They are central to sustainable development because they are easily accessible by a choice of transport. Good public transport is essential and so, too, is the quality of environment. People want well-planned town centres where they can live, enjoy shopping, working and local culture. Too often, town centres have been sacrificed to busy roads: the New Deal for transport will give priority to people over traffic.

Despite initial misgivings from some local traders, pedestrianisation schemes have proved very popular. We will also encourage local authorities to consider traffic calming and the reallocation of road space to promote walking and cycling and to give priority to public transport.

Quality residential environments

We want towns and cities to be places where people want to live. The New Deal for transport will support the urban renaissance that is essential to revitalise urban living and save our countryside from urban sprawl.

In part, this means people being able to go about their daily business without being intimidated by traffic. Better planning can contribute to achieving better and safer residential environments by influencing the design and layout of new developments. Traffic can be calmed from the outset by designing for low speeds. Sometimes new developments can be designed to be 'car free'.

In established residential areas we want to see the creative use of traffic management tools. We want local authorities to make greater use of the wide range of techniques now available that allow traffic calming to be introduced cost-effectively and with sensitivity to the environment. This will include more extensive use of '20 mph zones'. In these zones, the frequency of accidents has been reduced by about 60% and accidents involving children have fallen by 67%.

'Home zones' have been developed in a number of European countries and involve even lower traffic speeds, more pedestrianised areas and design features that emphasise the change in priority to pedestrians and cyclists. They could prove to be a valuable tool in improving the places where people live and children play.

 

Table 1. 1985-95 Average Annual Driving and Fuel Consumption Increases
 

Personal vehicle passenger miles

Personal vehicle fuel consumption

United States

2.4 %/year

1.6 %/year

Germany

5.1 %/year

1.9 %/year

United Kingdom

3.4 %/year

2.5 %/year

France

3.0 %/year

1.9 %/year

Japan

4.9 %/year

5.4 %/year

Source: Davis, S. 1997. Transportation Energy Data Book 17. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy, ORNL-6919.

 

Table 2. Subsidies to Motor Vehicle Use in America

X$/gal gas diesel Annual Tot ($bil)
Ketcham & Komanoff 5.53 730
Litman 4.99 659
MacKenzie, Dower & Chen 3.03 400
Miller & Moffet 2.86 - 5.00 378 - 660
Office of Technology Assessment 3.39 - 6.81 447 - 899
OTA - incl non-monetary personal costs (primarily own accid. & travel time) 11.17 - 16.11 1,475 - 2,127
Delucchi 3.13 - 7.55 413 - 997

 

References

Delucchi, M. Spring 1996. Total Cost of Motor-Vehicle Use. Access.

Ketcham, B. & Komanoff, C. 1992. Win-Win Transportation: A No-Losers Approach To Financing Transport in New York City and the Region. New York: KEA (270 Lafayette #400, New York 10012

Litman, T. 1998. Transportation Cost Analysis; Techniques, Estimates and Implications. Victoria, BC: Victoria Transport Policy Institute (1250 Rudlin Street,, V8V 3R7).

MacKenzie, J., Dower, R. & Chen, D. 1992. The Going Rate: What It Really Costs To Drive. Washington DC: World Resources Institute.

Miller, P. & Moffet, J. 1993. The Price of Mobility. San Francisco: Natural Resources Defense Council.

Office of Technology Assessment. 1994. Saving Energy in U.S. Transportation. Washington, DC: U.S. Congress, OTA-ETI-589.

 

Conversions

20 mpg average fuel consumption

132 109 gal/yr U.S. gasoline & diesel consumption - all road vehicles [106 109 gal/yr - autos & lt. tr.]

S. Davis & S. Strang, Transportation Energy Data Book 13, ORNL-6743, 1993, Table 2.7

189 106 cars, trucks & buses in U.S. Davis & Strang

 

Sources of Subsidies

1. Police, fire, ambulance; road construction & maintenance; other local gov't

2. Property taxes lost from land cleared for freeways

3. Parking

4. Air, water, land pollution

5. Noise, vibration damage to structures

6. Global warming

7. Petroleum supply line policing, security, petroleum production subsidies

8. Trade deficit, infrastructure deficit

9. Sprawl, loss of transportation options

10. Uncompensated auto accidents

11. Congestion John Holtzclaw

 

Table 3. Freight energy use in selected countries, 1970-93. (trillion Btu)

1970 1993
Japan 803 1569
France 367 (1975) 590
Italy 192 502 (1991)
United Kingdom 346 477
West Germany 305 434
United States 3164 5923
Australia 175 (1975) 261

Adapted from Davis 1997, Table 1.11.

 

Table 4. Construction and use requirements for urban apartments and single family dwellings.

Resources City Apartments Village Houses Ratio
Copper pipe 2,000 ft 10,000 ft 5
Arable land 5,000 sq.ft 200,000 sq.ft 40
Roadway 1,000 sq.yds. 15,000 sq.yds. 15
Concrete 17,000 cu.yds. 9,000 cu.yds. _
Lumber 25,000 board ft 1,200,000 board ft. 50
Utility pipe 450 ft. 2,500 ft. 5

Maintenance

Daily postal delivery 10 ft. 3,000 ft. 300
Landscaping water 500 gals/day 35,000 gals/day 70
Heating 5,000 BTU/day 27,000 BTU/day 5
Individual auto 25,000 miles/month 90,000 miles/mo 4

Phillips, M. and Gnaizda, R. Summer 1980. New Age Doctrine is Out to Lunch on Three Issues. CoEvolution Quarterly.

 

Table 5. Construction costs for suburban apartments and single family dwellings. (1987 $)

Single family (3 units/acre)

suburban location

Moderate density condos (30 units/acre)

suburban location

Ratio
Streets and roads 7,083 $/unit 1,843 $/unit 4
Utilities (metal and concrete) 11,388 $/unit 1,997 $/unit 6
Schools 12,313 $/unit 3,786 $/unit 3
Utilities (metal and 11,388 $/unit 1,997 $/unit 6

Frank, J. 1989. The Costs of Alternative Development Patterns. Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute. Table 8.

 

  Vehicle Miles Traveled

S F L A D C N Y C EPA
Market Based
$2/gallon gasoline tax -10.3%
$1/gallon gasoline tax -4.5%
8¢/mile smog fee -8.3%
Smog based registration fee -0.4% -0.4% -1.4%
$3/day employee parking -1.5% -1.5%
Employee parking cash-out -3.0% -1.9%
$2/day vanpool/carpool incentives -0.3%
1¢/minute non work parking 4.9% 3.5% 2.1% 3.9%
15¢/mile average congestion pricing -5.0%
Automated congestion-priced toll lanes -2.0% -4.5%
Increased bridge tolls -2.4% -1.2%
50¢/gallon pay-at-the-pump insurance -1.9% -1.9%
Employee trip reduction ordinance -2.5% -1.3% -.4%
S F L A D C N Y C EPA
Land Use
Mixed-use infill, growth management -2.7% -2.7%
Zoning changes for density near transit -.1% -0.2%
S F L A D C N Y C EPA
Pedestrian/Bicycle/Transit
Pedestrian/bicycle access improvements -.1% -1.3% -0.03%
Traffic calming, ped/bike improvements -2.7% -3.4%
Prohibiting thru traffic in selected centers -.5% -1.9%
Expanded transit, ped/bike access -2.1%
Expanded rail service -.5% -1.9%
Double transit service -1.7% -0.15%
Expanded paratransit -1.2% -2.6%
Deregulate private transit -1.8%
Free transit -1.9%
Discounted universal transit pass (employer subsidized) -1.8% -2.0% (-10.0%)
Transit information systems -1.1% -2.9%
Public education - alternate modes -1.0% -1.6%
S F L A D C N Y C EPA
Traffic Improvements
Carpool/express bus (HOV) lanes -.8% -.4% -.5%
Park & ride lots -.1% -.1%
Freeway incident management +.1% +.6% +1.6%
Signal timing, intersection flow +.3% +1.0%
S F L A D C N Y C EPA
Telephone Based
Telecommuting -.1% -1.3% -0.35%
Smart communities: teleshopping & telelogistics -1.5% -.8%

 

References

SF: Harvey, G. 1989. TCM Task Force. Oakland CA: Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

LA: Cameron, M. 1991. Transportation Efficiency: Tackling Southern California's Air Pollution and Congestion. Oakland CA: Environmental Defense Fund. Table 3.

DC: Replogle, M. 1993. Transportation Management Strategies For the Washington DC Region. Washington DC: Environmental Defense Fund, 7 (year 2000).

NYC: Tri-State Transportation Campaign. 1994. Citizens Action Plan, A 21st Century Transportation System. New York City. 66 (year 2007).

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency. 1998. Transportation Partners 1997 Annual Report. Table 4-1.

John Holtzclaw

 

 

 

Figure 1. The predicted impact of households per residential acre and public transit density on vehicle miles traveled per household.

 

References

Davis, S. 1997. Transportation Energy Data Book 17. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy. ORNL-6919.

Delucchi, M. Spring 1996. Total Cost of Motor-Vehicle Use. Access. 7-13.

Dunphy, R. and Fisher, K. November 1996. Transportation, Congestion, and Density: New Insights. Transportation Research Record No. 1552. Washington DC: Transportation Research Board. 89-96.

Environmental Protection Agency. 1998. Transportation Partners 1997 Annual Report.

Holtzclaw, J., Clear, R., Dittmar, H., Goldstein, D. and Haas, P. Location Efficiency: Neighborhood and Socio-Economic Characteristics Determine Auto Ownership and Driving ; Studies in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. manuscript submitted for journal publication.

Insurance Institute. 1998. Special Issue: Urban Crashes. Vol. 33, No. 4, May 2, 1998.

Ketcham, B., & Komanoff, C. 1992. Win-Win Transportation: A No-Losers Approach To Financing Transport in New York City and the Region. New York: Komanoff Energy Associates.

Litman, T. 1998a. Transportation Cost Analysis; Techniques, Estimates and Implication.Victoria BC: Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Litman, T. 1998b. Socially Optimal Transport Pricing and Markets. Victoria BC: Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

MacKenzie, J., Dower, R. & Chen, D. 1992. The Going Rate: What It Really Costs To Drive. Washington DC: World Resources Institute.

Miller, P., and Moffet, J. 1993. The Price of Mobility. San Francisco: Natural Resources Defense Council.

Newman, P., and Kenworthy, J. 1989. Cities and Automobile Dependence: An International Sourcebook. Aldershot UK: Gower Publishing.

Office of Technology Assessment. 1994. Saving Energy in U.S. Transportation. Washington DC: U.S. Congress. OTA-ETI-589.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 1993. Choosing an Alternative Transportation Fuel: Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Impacts.

Pastowski, A. 1997. Decoupling Economic Development and Freight for Reducing its Negative Impacts. Wuppertal, Germany: Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Paper # 78.

Phillips, M., and Gnaizda, R. Summer 1980. New Age Doctrine is Out to Lunch on Three Issues.

CoEvolution Quarterly.

Pucher, J., and Lefèvre, C. 1996. The Urban Transport Crisis in Europe and North America. London: Macmillan Press.

Real Estate Research Corporation. l974. The Costs of Sprawl. Washington DC.

Zuckermann, W. 1991. End of the Road. Post Mills VT: Chelsea Green.


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