Urban Development Shifts Reduce Driving

The patterns of urban development over the past few decades have pushed more and more people into cars by necessity. But as design priorities change, so are people's walking and driving habits.
June 17, 2011, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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This piece from Sierra looks at how urban form is ushering changes in the way people move about cities, and other influences for getting people out of their cars.

"All that extra driving--people using a gallon of gas to get a gallon of milk--has turned us into high-octane petro-vores. Between 1960 and '70, the U.S. population grew by 13 percent while gasoline demand rose by 54 percent; the next decade, with the same population growth, gas demand increased by 17 percent.

The shift to sprawling development patterns and the turning away from once-common practices like walking to school are often defended as a matter of "choice"--one, of course, fueled by decades of government laws and incentives. The irony is that many communities today have no choice when it comes to transportation: We have created a vehicular monoculture. But there are signs that this is changing. First, we seem to be maxing out on just how much driving we're willing to do."

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Published on Thursday, June 16, 2011 in Sierra
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