Poor Road Quality Leading to Higher Gas Use

Commuters in Massachusetts communities with worse roads use more gas, with the costs disproportionately impacting low-income households.

1 minute read

February 15, 2024, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


CLose-up of pothole in asphalt road filled with water reflecting grey cloudy sky.

Christian Delbert / Adobe Stock

New research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst reveals that ‘environmental justice communities,’ defined by the state of Massachusetts as areas with low incomes and high percentages of minority groups, have poorer road quality, causing residents to use more fuel for their vehicles.

According to the study’s lead author Egemen Okte, “You need roads to go from point A to point B, and depending on what kind of road you live around, it will change your fuel consumption.”

“As for how this impacted fuel use, nearly all Massachusetts drivers use more than 3% excess fuel (compared to driving on perfect road conditions), and most drivers use 5 to 7% excess fuel, regardless of community status.” In EJ communities, 16 percent of commuters fell in the highest tier of excess gas use, “twice the rate of non-EJ commuters.”

Monday, February 12, 2024 in University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Close-up of electric stove range with front burners red-hot.

California Cities Suspend Natural Gas Bans Following Court Ruling

A Ninth Circuit court ruling forced Berkeley to reverse its ban on natural gas in new buildings, prompting other cities to suspend their own efforts to promote all-electric buildings.

May 28, 2024 - East Bay Times

Aerial view of downtown Auburn, Indiana on a clear, sunny day.

Study: Indiana Regional Planning Project Pays Off

The Regional Cities Initiative funded economic development projects and capacity building to help local agencies collaborate more effectively to promote growth.

11 minutes ago - Ball State University

Colorful vacant, boarded-up two-story rowhouses in East Baltimore, Maryland.

States Move to Limit ‘Squatters’ Rights’

A wave of new legislation targets people who reside illegally in properties they don’t own.

1 hour ago - Smart Cities Dive

BART heavy rail train on elevated track pulling into Concord, CA station with cloudy sky and trees in background.

Bay Area Transit Projects Awarded $18 Million

The funding supports eight ‘near-term’ projects slated for completion within the next one to three years.

May 29 - Contra Costa Herald

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.