In a forthcoming paper, Delucchi and Kurani, of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis, propose redesigning residential communities to accommodate a dual road system. The conventional (“heavy”) road network would take residents to work or play out of town. Local “light” roads would allow low-speed traffic only: pedestrians, bicycles, and golf carts or similar small vehicles.
Of the several obstacles to enacting Delucchi and Kurani’s plan, the largest seems to be the psychological one. They say their program lets us have our gasoline-fueled cake and eat it, too. But are those of us who are accustomed to using our SUVs for in-town trips likely to trade them in for golf carts? “Delucchi and Kurani ask us to embrace the concept of a car to address urban sustainability,” Eric Jaffe writes, “but since ‘light’ vehicles don’t fit that concept anyway, we still must redefine what they hope we’ll embrace.”