Transportation Energy Futures Series: Effects of the Built Environment on Transportation: Energy Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Other Factors.
Porter, C. D.; Brown, A.; Dunphy, R. T.; Vimmerstedt, L.
Prepared by Cambridge Systematics, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Planning initiatives in many regions and communities aim to reduce transportation energy use, decrease emissions, and achieve related environmental benefits by changing land use. This report reviews and summarizes findings from existing literature on the relationship between the built environment and transportation energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, identifying results trends as well as potential future actions. The indirect influence of federal transportation and housing policies, as well as the direct impact of municipal regulation on land use are examined for their effect on transportation patterns and energy use. Special attention is given to the 'four D' factors of density, diversity, design and accessibility. The report concludes that policy-driven changes to the built environment could reduce transportation energy and GHG emissions from less than 1% to as much as 10% by 2050, the equivalent of 16%-18% of present-day urban light-duty-vehicle travel. This is one of a series of reports produced as a result of the Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) project, a Department of Energy-sponsored multi-agency project initiated to pinpoint underexplored strategies for abating GHGs and reducing petroleum dependence related to transportation.