Congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gases, energy use: the effectiveness of transportation and land use strategies for impact management

This paper presents the results of an analysis of transportation and land use policies proposed to reduce pollutant emissions, using the San Francisco Bay Area as a case study. The effects on trip rates, vehicle miles of travel, fuel use, pollutant emissions, and C02 emissions are presented for a number of strategies. Given current land use patterns, the auto is the central means of transportation for trips of all purposes. Over the next ten years travel is expected to grow by 30% or more, and while controls on motor vehicles will reduce pollutant emissions, comparable reductions in energy use and C02 production are not anticipated. Improvements to alternate travel modes can reduce auto use but modest amounts within the current transport-land use framework. A program emphasizing promotion of commute alternatives, transit enhancements, and traffic flow improvements together are estimated to reduce emissions by 10- 11 percent from the levels that would otherwise occur by 1997. Pricing strategies offer another approach. A combination of bridge tolls and parking charges was explored for the Bay Area and was found to be capable of reducing auto use, emissions and energy consumption by some 15- 20%. Revenues would be sufficient to support substantial capital investments in new transit facilities. But the State Legislature must authorize bridge tolls, and a mandate to require parking charges probably is needed from the Legislature as well, since local governments are reluctant to act on their own and regional agencies' authority to mandate parking charges is uncertain. The political support for pricing strategies is mixed, however, and this appears to pose a substantial barrier to the use of pricing strategies. Land use strategies offer substantial additional potential; vehicle usage is 30-40% lower in moderate density, transit and pedestrian-oriented communities (8-15 units per acre, designed with sidewalks and served with bus and sometimes, rail) than in socially and economically comparable low density, auto-dependent suburbs. But much more work remains to be done exploring the replicability of the denser areas, nearly all of which developed pre-World War 11; the size of the market for higher density communities, and the cost implications of such a development style in new growth areas, remain to be tested. Moreover current law assigns land use planning and development approvals entirely to local government, and localities have shown little willingness to permit higher densities. Proposals to strengthen regional governance may make increase the feasibility of this approach by providing incentives for higher densities.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 22p

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01432543
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2012 5:05PM