Summary

The briefing will focus, in particular, on trends in the distances and time that Americans spend driving each year due to changing land use patterns, limited alternatives, transportation policies, congestion, highway operations, and other factors. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects automobile and truck use (as measured by vehicle miles traveled or VMT) to increase 48 percent by 2030. Such trends would have major implications for traffic congestion and the capacity of the U.S. transportation system to efficiently move people and freight. Increases in GHG emissions due to these trends, if unaddressed, would outweigh GHG emission reductions expected from higher fuel-economy standards contained in the recently enacted Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L.110-140). Goals to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign sources of oil would be more difficult to achieve under such trends.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) invite you to a briefing that will examine the connection between transportation policy, urban development, land use planning, and the combined role they can play in reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The briefing will address policy options to be considered as a component of any comprehensive GHG reduction strategy.

ULI’s newly published book Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change surveys the best available research on the link between urban development trends, land use patterns, transportation alternatives, and greenhouse gas emissions, and identifies policy alternatives to promote more compact and energy-efficient development patterns and expand transportation choices including rail, transit, cycling, and walking. Representatives of transportation, real estate development, and local government interests will provide important perspectives on the challenges and feasibility of implementing such policies.

The briefing addressed key questions such as:

  • What transportation and land use policy options would be most effective in reducing GHG emissions?
  • What role can and should each level of government play in advancing such policy options?
  • What are the trade-offs among policy options in terms of mobility, quality of life, and consumer choice?
  • What are the opportunities and barriers to diversifying transportation choices for individuals and businesses?

Speaker Slides