Climate Change May Prompt Revolution In Transportation Planning

<p>Transportation planners and public officials have begun to consider ways to reconfigure cities and alter driving patterns in order to reduce vehicle miles traveled and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.</p>
March 3, 2008, 8am PST | Josh Stephens
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"A furious, though still fledgling, effort has commenced to help America's drivers curtail their trips, burn less fuel and, ultimately, emit less CO2. It involves a marriage of transportation planning, land use planning, engineering and public policy to implement everything from smart growth to congestion pricing to increased use of mass transit. And if that wasn't complicated enough, it will involve every level of government, from town hall to the United Nations."

"Transportation planners used to strive for less congestion or faster flows, but overall traffic volume was a fact of life. Now the focus is shifting into reverse. '[Transportation planning] has to be very important [in reducing CO2],' former Clinton administration Energy Secretary Bill Richardson told InTransition. 'You can't have a planet without energy-efficient transportation systems that emphasize commuter rail, light rail, open space and land use policies that protect quality of life.'"

"At more intimate scales, local land use and transportation planning may take a page from urban planning, in which efforts to promote infill, mixed-use, TOD and walkable, bikeable development have long been underway. It is hoped this sort of development would compel residents to walk rather than drive and focus their attention on their immediate communities, whose charms will make freeway trips and gridlock less appealing."

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Published on Friday, February 29, 2008 in InTransition Magazine
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