Hitting the sweet spot: Variability in commute lengths and vehicle emissions across a diverse state

In this paper the authors consider travel across Virginia and identify sustainability “sweet spots” where commute lengths and vehicle emissions per mile combine to maximize green travel in terms of total CO₂ emissions associated with commuting. The analysis is conducted across local voter precincts (N = 2373 in the state) because they are a useful proxy for neighborhoods and well-sized for implementing policy designed to encourage sustainable travel behavior. Virginia is especially appropriate for an examination of variability in sustainable travel behavior and technologies because the state’s transportation, demographic, and political patterns are particularly diverse and have been changing rapidly. The authors identify four Virginia precinct-based sustainability clusters: Sweet Spots, Emerging Sweet Spots, Neutral and Non-sustaining. A model of demographic differences among the clusters shows that sustainability outcomes, understood in terms of both local commute behavior and vehicle emissions, are significantly associated with the diverse demography and politics of the state. The authors also look at changes in transportation sustainability and socio-demographic trends within the clusters over the past half-decade, showing that differences in sustainability and demographic metrics are actually accelerating within the state over time. The authors conclude with a discussion of the implications of the differences among the clusters for developing and implementing effective transportation sustainability policies across the state.


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  • Accession Number: 01644273
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2017 10:07AM