Would People Drive Less if Cities Were Built Differently?

Dr. Marlon Boarnet, a professor in UC Irvine's Dept. of Planning, Policy and Design, has based his research around that question and has some answers.

Boarnet recently refined a way to scientifically measure built environment elements that might be linked to walking. He explains his research in this video:

Full Story: Transportation Planning and Climate Change



The Planetizen headline is

The Planetizen headline is misleading. Anyone who has spent time in, or is familiar with, any transit- and pedestrian-friendly city in the world (be it in Europe, the US, Canada or elsewhere) knows the answer is yes. The research is really about what factors contribute to less driving.


May be it is just as much about social change?

I'm not so sure. If you re-built where I live with a transit- and pedestrian-friendly place and put the same people back into it, I honestly believe they would still try to drive everywhere. The reason being the car is all these people know, are comfortable with and build communities around. May be in a couple of generations this crazy world view would change??

Boiling everything down to first principles, my question for all the urban gurus (because i'm not one of them!) is what comes first, social change or fantastic pedestrian- and transit- ready places? Or do they happen together in an organic way over time? And secondly what are the key drivers for change?


ps, just so we're clear I am also part of the problem as I own a car.

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET