According to new study findings, a smart growth approach to urban planning can reasonably cut down on the number of miles driven by the residents yearly. The research was published in September 2012, in The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy.
Smart growth refers to the development of compact, dense cities in which houses and job places are located within walking distance. This form of urban design focuses on the reduction of transportation-related energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. California has already pursued smart growth just to meet emissions reduction, set by the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).
The behavioral economics study carried out by the researchers at San Francisco State University has proven that a 10 per cent increase in a city’s smart growth features would eventually result in a 20 per cent reduction in the number of vehicle miles travelled per household each year.
It seems that changing the way cities are designed is going to greatly reduce travel demand. That leads to reduction of greenhouse – gas emissions and allows to save a lot of transportation – related energy.