Land-Use & Transportation Planning That Measurably Reduces Global Warming
As the need for climate change action grows, communities across North America are examining the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in their land-use and transportation plans. The building densities and circulation systems in these plans determine energy needs and emissions for decades into the future, and modeling CO2 emissions of alternative plans is helping local officials find more sustainable solutions for community growth.
In Canada, the Islands Trust of British Columbia has selected INDEX to model the global warming effects of the Salt Spring Island growth plan near Vancouver. The tool will estimate emissions for three scenarios: business-as-usual under current plan build-out, versus growth in distributed hamlets or central villages. INDEX estimates CO2 emissions from energy use in buildings and the amount of driving produced by land-use patterns.
In California, INDEX has been used by the City of Chula Vista since 2001 to evaulate the climate change impacts of proposed development projects. The city used the tool to establish CO2 reduction standards that development projects are measured against, including minimum levels of use mix, neighborhood completeness, walkability, and transit coverage. The program won U.S. EPA's Climate Change Protection Award in 2003.
"We see thousands of pounds of CO2 reduction per capita annually in neighborhoods planned for denser mixed-uses and multi-modal travel," says Eliot Allen of Criterion Planners, "and these reductions last for decades because of the permanence of the built environment."
INDEX is a suite of GIS tools for assessing community conditions, designing future scenarios, and evaluating outcomes with environmental indicators and stakeholder goals. Introduced in 1994, INDEX is now the most widely-distributed planning support software in North America.
Related Link: INDEX Planning Support Software
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Posted February 2, 2007
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