Land Use and Transportation

Land  Use and Transportation:

Breaking Out of the Box, or Growing Smart


Robert Cervero

Department of City and Regional Planning

University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.




Smart growth has gained considerable momentum in recent years as an antidote to unchecked sprawl.  In the United States, the states of Maryland and Florida have tied infrastructure assistance to localities successfully targeting new development at designated smart-growth areas.  Stripped to its essentials, smart growth is about better coordinating and integrating transportation and urbanization.  I like the term “smart growth” because it is a nice, compressed (two-syllable) way of saying this.


In ways, smart growth is synonymous with sustainable development.  As a rapacious consumer of natural resources and emitter of pollutants, the urban transportation sector must be judged on the basis of sustainability – maintaining or improving, as opposed to harming, the natural environment.  Sustainability argues for strong links between transportation and land use.  It also calls for resource-efficient forms of mobility, such as metrorail systems that ties together planned urban centers in the case of big cities and dedicated carpool and bus lanes that reward efficient motor-vehicle use in smaller ones.  Congestion pricing, parking restraints, and the development of alternative-fuel vehicles are other strategies that embrace sustainability principles.


There are no shortages of naysayers who trivialize the importance of transport-and-urbanization linkages.  Uncovering unsuccessful experiences is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel (Guiliano, 1995; Brindle, 1996).  My own research shows U.S. rail investments, like San Francisco’s BART, have exerted modest influences on urban form (Cervero and Landis, 1996).  However this is less an indictment of the transport-land use nexus and more an indictment of gross mis-pricing of resources and institutional fragmentation.   Singapore-like prices and Zürich-like public transport services would have led to radically different results in the case of BART.  But let’s not fool ourselves.  Smart-growth does not come easy – often, there must be some degree of private sacrifice for public gains.  In Stockholm, middle-class residents give up private living space in return for more public open space and a high-amenity public realm.  In Zürich, residents give up private cars in return for wonderfully efficient public transport services.  Smart growth is not painless.


Portland, Oregon shows that containment policies like urban growth boundaries (UGBs) are a necessary pill to curb the sprawl disease.  However, supply constraints have inflated land costs (both per square foot and per residence).  Portland’s experiences show that public gains (i.e., cheaper infrastructure per mile, cleaner air) are at the expense of private losses (i.e., higher housing and land costs).  What remains unclear is how much cost inflation is due to constrained land-supplies versus Portland being an attractive place to live and do business, in no small part because of successfully linking transportation and land development.  With its policy of Metropolitan Limits (ML), the Auckland Region will have to wrestle with trading off between compact growth and rising housing prices.

This paper probes the many challenges faced in advancing principles of smart growth.  As we stand on the cusp of a new century, it is an appropriate time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re heading in regards to land-use and transportation decisions.  Now is the time to “break out of the box” of designing car-dependent cities.  By drawing upon experiences around the world, I hope to shed light on promising avenues for advancing smart-growth principles and practice as well as to identify major hurdles that need to be overcome. 



۲٫  Need Decentralization Equal Sprawl?


Square one in advancing smart growth is acknowledging that decentralization is here to stay.  Decentralizing trends wrought by advances in information technologies, rising affluence, and sheer population growth itself mean that metropolitan areas, worldwide, will continue to spread outward. Telecommunication advances continue to diminish the need for spatial proximity.  Today’s workers can handle routine communications and obtain information electronically from remote, less costly locations.  What form, if any, spread-out growth takes, and the economic and environmental sustainability of the evolving patterns, raises fundamental questions about the role of public-sector planning.  Is decentralization to be largely private market shaped (business-as-usual), or through public stewardship of resources, to take the form of concentrated, mixed-use centers?


In a motorized world, decentralization has mainly taken the form of sprawl, characterized by seven-S’s – spread-out, skipped-over, segregated, shapeless, scattershot, strip-commercialized, and subsidized land development.   Worldwide, sprawl stands as a serious threat to a sustainable future.  This is in good part due to the fact that sprawl creates near total dependence on the private car.   Between 1980 and 1995, the global fleet of cars, trucks, and buses grew by 70 percent, with a third of the increase occurring in developing countries (Ingram and Liu, 1999).  The ability of planet Earth to absorb astronomical increases in the population of cars and the distances they travel, in terms of both fossil fuel supplies and greenhouse gas emissions, is worrisome.  Only 8 percent of the world’s population presently owns a car.  The spread of U.S. auto ownership rates (750 vehicles per 1,000 residents) to citizens of Russia, India, and China (where fewer than one in ten own a car) would wreak havoc on the globe’s finite resources.


Motorization demands pro-active road development, however time and again experiences show that building new roads, especially in fast growing areas, provides only ephemeral relief – in short time, they are once again filled to capacity.   No issue has paralyzed highway programmes and side-tracked our ability to rationalize new road development than this phenomenon of “induced travel demand”.  A study using 18 years of data from 14 California metropolitan areas found every 10 percent increase in highway lane-miles was associated with a 9 percent increase in vehicle-miles-traveled four years after road expansion, controlling for other factors (Hansen and Huang, 1997). Similar findings have been recorded in the United Kingdom (Goodwin, 1996).  In the United States, regional transportation plans, such as in the San Francisco Bay Area, have been legally contested by environmental interest groups on the very grounds that they failed to account for the harmful air-quality impacts of additional trips induced by road investments and expansions.


Concerns over induced demand are being aired in Australasian cities in light of the accelerated construction of circumferential roads, such as the M2 and M5 orbital series being built outside of Sydney.  As with all beltways, the aim is to deflect through traffic out of the center, expedite freight movements, and accommodate lateral, tangential trips.  Experiences show that in fairly congested settings, the augmentation of road capacity shifts growth as developers seek to exploit newly added accessibility.    Parcels near interchanges become particularly valued and sought out.  In the near term, there is “triple-convergence” – motorists switch modes, routes, and times of day to exploit available capacity.  Over the long term, new roads induce structural shifts – namely, realignment of land development and a tendency toward higher car ownership as a result of more auto-centric landscapes.  It is largely for this reason that VicRoads recently shelved plans to build the Scoresby Freeway east of Melbourne. 



۳٫  Linking Land Use and Transport: Growing Smart


By their nature, smart growth strategies are spatial.  They focus on where growth should best occur and in what physical form.  Programmatically, they share four common traits.  One, they embrace urban planning by anticipating and creating a vision of the future.  Smart growth flourishes where a firm and well articulated image of the future is in place.  Two of the most efficient and sustainable cities in the world, Copenhagen and Stockholm, adopted metaphors to articulate and market visions – the “Finger Plan” in case of Copenhagen, and a “Planetary Cluster” in the case of Stockholm.  Second, smart growth balances the twin and often competing aims of urban design: form versus function.  In designing and building places, functionality is reflected by the details and attention given to sustainability and resourcefulness.  Form is expressed through the livability and aestheticism of neighborhoods and communities.  Third, under smart growth, infrastructure investments are cleverly used to shape and leverage development.  This can take the form of extending a rail line to a desired corridor of growth in advance of demand, a practice long employed in Scandinavia and Japan, or withholding public utilities from vulnerable and high-valued areas, like forests, wetlands, and hillsides.  Lastly, areas that are growing intelligently and responsibly almost always have an institutional landscape that is conducive to dealing with spillover and cross-boundary problems.  This often means some form of regional governance and oversight of local land-use decisions, whether in the form of regional master planning, tax-base sharing, environmental mandates, or zoning overrides.   It also means having the capability of making guilty parties absorb at least some of the social and environmental costs they impose, such as through impact fees, exactions, concurrency programs, or externality pricing.


Compact City


Ultimately, what distinguishes auto-centricity and sprawl from more sustainable development patterns is poor accessibility among co-dependent land uses.  Most thoughtful observers agree with the seminal research of Newman and Kenworthy (1989) that concluded the key to reducing auto-dependence and promoting more sustainable patterns of urbanization lies with making cities more compact.  For the middle class, the most evident effect of compact development is the giving up of private back-lot space for shared-public space.  Compact development needs to be matched by amenities, open spaces, and quality design if they are to gain acceptance in affluent countries.  Studies show that perceived densities can be increased by such treatments as varying building heights, rooflines, materials, and textures, or adding rear-lot, in-law units (Cervero and Bosselmann, 1998).

In depressed neighborhoods, smart growth also means strengthening human capital through better education and housing.  Clearly, smart growth is more than rearranging land uses.  It is also community-rebuilding.


Transportation-Land Use-Air Quality


It not uncommon to hear “the solution to pollution is dilution” – ie, sprawl poses fewer air pollution risks than compact development.  One study found little difference in New Jersey’s future air quality under sprawl or compact-city scenarios (Burchell, 2000).  The danger with such analyses is that they focus solely on local and ignore global pollution. Yes, exposure levels (and thus health risks) are lower with sprawl, but tailpipe emissions and fossil-fuel consumption are greatly increased.  Sprawl must be judged not only in terms of ozone levels but also greenhouse gas emissions.   In this respect, the U.S. is as much in denial as any nation.  America, a laggard in the move to exact carbon taxes and set greenhouse gas emission limits, has less than 5 percent of the world’spopulation but is responsible for about a quarter of vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) and a third of carbon-dioxide emissions.  Destructive weather patterns, some fear, are a harbinger of what’s to come in a car-dependent world

that emulates America’s pattern of suburbanization.


Economics of Smart Growth


Evidence is beginning to trickle in showing smart growth not only economizes on the fiscal cost of development, but also tallies well on the benefit side of the ledger.  Specifically, regions with well-managed growth seem to economically outperform all others.  A recent study of 182 U.S. metropolitan areas, 26 of which have smart-growth programmes, found growth-management to be positively associated with economic performance (Nelson and Petermann, 2000).  I reached a similar conclusion in a recent study of 47 U.S. metropolitan areas – those with higher densities, good job accessibility, and greater primacy (shares of jobs in the central city) averaged higher labor productivity, all else being equal (Cervero, 2000).



۴٫ Balanced Regional Growth


Shaping regional growth to achieve public good has long been a central precept of sustainable planning principles, at least as early as Ebenezer Howard’s celebrated Garden Cities of Tomorrow (۱۸۹۸).  British, French, and Scandinavian post-war new towns embraced principles of balanced, self-contained growth as means of preserving natural landscapes and redressing social inequalities.  Jobs-housing balance is promoted as a means to “rationalize” commutersheds by internalizing larger shares of motorized trips within sub-regions. 


There is no better example of the efficiency and sustainability gains that come from balanced growth than Stockholm, Sweden.  The last half-century of strategic regional planning has given rise to a regional settlement and commutation pattern that has substantially lowered car-dependency in middle-income suburbs.  Stockholm planners have created jobs-housing balance along rail-served axial corridors.  This in turn has produced directional-flow balances.  During peak hours, 55 percent of commuters are typically traveling in one direction on trains and 45 percent are heading in the other direction.  Stockholm's transit modal share is nearly twice that found in bigger rail-served European cities like Berlin and even higher than inner London's market share.  Perhaps most impressive, Stockholm is one of the few places where automobility appears to be receding.  Between 1980 and 1990, it was the only city in a sample of 37 global cities that registered a per capita decline in car use — a drop off of 229 annual kilometers of travel per person (Kenworthy and Laube, 1999).


To its credit, Auckland’s Regional Growth Strategy acknowledges that alternative modes, including public transit, cycling, and walking, should play prominent roles in greenfield, new-town development (slated for 30 percent of regional growth over the next 50 years).  Houten, a master-planned community south of Utrecht, the Netherlands, provides an exemplary model.  Houten features residential areas that can only be reached by car via an outer ring road.  By contrast, Houten’s star-shaped network of ped-ways and bike-paths allows convenient and direct access between residential districts and the train-served center (Beatley, 1999).



۵٫  Accessibility Planning


Smart growth focuses on accessibility, not mobility.  Accessibility reflects the ability to efficiently and conveniently reach frequently visited places.  It can be enhanced either by increasing travel speeds or by bringing urban activities closer together, or some combination thereof.  Replacing automobility planning with accessibility planning means social and community considerations take precedence over individualistic ones.  It also recognizes what cities are about, first and foremost – people and places, not movement. 


Accessible communities bring activities closer together by in-filling, inter-mixing land uses, and promoting tele-travel.  Broadening our objectives to include accessibility inescapably leads to a wider array of approaches to physical planning, including better land-use management. 


The broader societal benefits of focusing on accessibility are underscored by experiences in Curitiba, Brazil.  Curitiba, widely viewed as one of the world’s most sustainable, well-managed metropolises, is also one of the most accessible — a product of some forty years of carefully integrating urbanization and transportation improvements.  By emphasizing planning for people rather than cars, Curitiba has evolved along well-defined linear axes that are intensively served by dedicated busways.  Along some corridors, elephant-trains of double-articulated buses haul 16,000 passengers per hour, comparable to what much pricier metro-rail systems carry. A design element used to enhance accessibility is the “trinary” — three parallel roadways with compatible land uses.  An important benefit of mixed land uses and transit service levels along these corridors, besides phenomenally high ridership rates, has been balanced, bi-directional flows, ensuring efficient use of available bus capacity.  On a per capita basis, Curitiba is Brazil’s second wealthiest city yet it averages considerably more transit trips than much-bigger Rio and São Paulo.   It also boasts the cleanest air among any Brazilian city, despite being a provincial capital with a sizable industrial sector.   The strong, workable nexus that exists between Curitiba’s bus-based transit system and its linear settlement pattern deserves most of the credit.


۶٫  Bus Rapid Transit and Urbanism


Transport infrastructure can be a powerful tool in channeling regional growth, as demonstrated by Scandinavian cities like Stockholm.  Auckland is committed to using new public transport investments to steer future growth, despite the fact, like everywhere, public transport’s market share of trips has steadily declined – from 13 percent in the 1980s to 5 percent in 1996 (Auckland Regional Council, 1999).  Because of New Zealand’s generally low population densities, for most settings, bus-based transit will offer more promise than rail in wooing motorists out of cars.  Bus transit works particularly well in serving intermediate-distance trips, which characterize travel in metropolitan Auckland – 60 percent of journeys in the region are 7 kilometers or less in distance (Auckland Regional Council, 1999). Bus systems are also versatile: they can both adapt to and reshape settlement patterns.


Bus Rapid Transit


Curitiba’s world-class rubber-tire transit system, known locally as a “surface metro”, exemplifies the concept of bus rapid transit (BRT).  BRT aims to achieve the speed and performance advantages of grade-separated services at a fraction of the cost by cleverly using bus-based approaches.  Among its key features are:  exclusitivity, notably physical segregation

; seamless (same-level) transfers; a

dvanced bus technology: clean fuels, light-weight materials, low floors, advanced communications, docking systems; supportive armature: signal priorities, bus turnouts, curb realignments, automated vehicle location (AVL) systems, automated routing and dispatching; expeditious fare collection and boarding: off-vehicle payment, smart cards.  Twelve U.S. cities have opted for BRT systems over light-rail transit on the very grounds that they are more in harmony with prevailing low-density, single-use land-use patterns.  The Auckland Region is positioned to spearhead BRT development with its planned dedicated busway alongside the Northern Motorway between the Harbour Bridge and Albany.



Bus TODs


There remains a popular perception that bus stations are not attractive places for compact development – whether for reasons that diesel fumes are unattractive (though CNG buses can fix this problem) or the perception that “undesirables” hang around bus depots.  The absence of much TOD (transit-oriented development) along Adelaide, Australia’s northwest track-guided busway (Tea Tree Gulley, notwithstanding) lends credence to this view.  However, what ultimately drives development is accessibility gains – whether in the form of rubber tyres on concrete or steel wheels on steel rail.   Cities like Ottawa, Canada and Curitiba, Brazil show that bus-based TODs can be every bit as successful as rail TODs as long as they are accompanied by forward-looking, intelligent planning.  In Ottawa’s case, a combination of zoning laws that targeted employment growth to parcels near bus stations, parking constraints, tax incentives, and superb public transport services has resulted in nearly half of all regional office growth occurring within a 750 meter radius of the region’s thirty fully enclosed, temperature controlled bus stations.


۷٫ Resourcefulness


Smart growth is intimately tied to smart pricing and being resourceful.  Countries like France, Denmark, and Sweden have held sprawl in check by heavily taxing electricity and petroleum consumption at a rate three to four times higher than in the United States.  Besides encouraging the use of smaller cars and appliances, pricing that reflects the scarcity value of resources encourages the commingling of land uses.  In Europe, this takes the form of workplaces situated within convenient reach of residences, and in-neighborhood shops and restaurants that reduce the need for gigantic, electricity-hungry refrigerators and freezers.


Resource Pricing


Throughout the world, under-pricing of scarce resources – fossil fuels, pristine landscapes, clean air – has propelled sprawl.  Economists contend that proper pricing — such as congestion fees, parking surcharges, and premature land-consumption taxes  — would eliminate the need for smart growth campaigns and public interventionism.   With substantially higher road prices, people would move closer to jobs and transit stops to economize on travel, and shops would be warmly welcomed into residential neighbourhoods.  Road prices ration demand, reducing congestion, which in the Auckland region costs, on average, more than $700 per capita each year (weighing lost productivity, time delays, and air pollution) (Ernst and Young, 1997).  Singapore’s island-wide system of real-time road pricing has been credited with holding congestion in check and generating revenues that have helped finance LRT extensions to new housing settlements.  Outside of Singapore, road pricing, while sound of theory, has found little political support.  One observer concluded that “except for professors of transportation economics and planning — who hardly constitute a potent political force — I can think of few interest groups that would willingly and vigorously fight for the concept.” (Wachs, 1995).  In the absence of true market-based pricing of transportation, public initiatives that reduce automobile dependence and thus help conserve finite resources must be turned to.  In the jargon of economists, physical land-use planning becomes a second-best response to the inability to introduce first-best, pareto-optimal pricing.


Adaptive Re-Use of Urban Spaces


Critical to compact, infill development, as embraced in Auckland’s Regional Growth Strategy, is adaptive re-use of underutilized, dysfunctional, or outmoded urban spaces.  In countries like the U.S. and New Zealand, parking lots are arguably the most wasteful of all land consumers.  Zoning codes — notorious for inflating parking supplies that in turn drive up the cost of development – bear much of the blame.   Over-zoning is particularly problematic in the suburbs where surface parking often consumes twice as much land as the footprint of buildings.  Many German cities lower mandatory parking requirements depending upon how close a new development is to a high-quality public transport node.  Zürich, Switzerland has constrained parking supplies so much that over a third of middle-income families do not own cars, relying on a combination of car-sharing and superb public transport (which enjoys signal priority throughout the city).


A good example of recycling valuable in-city land is Sydney’s soon-to-occur transformation of the Olympic village at Homebush Bay, slated to become a mixed-use, transit-oriented village.   Even in the U.S., adaptive re-use is gaining currency, mainly taking the form of re-using superfluous surface parking lots.  Car parks are proving to be a blessing in disguise for they provide large swaths of pre-assembled land.  Most attractive are surface parking lots at train stations.  Many were originally overbuilt, thanks to generous federal funding for rail development.  As areas have matured and surrounding land values have increased, market pressures are prompting U.S. transit agencies to sell off at least portions of them as a means to both create a ridership base and to reap windfalls in the form of value capture.   Often, the profits earned are more than enough to cover the cost of replacement structured parking, freeing up land for infill development.   Surface parking conversion, successfully accomplished by several U.S. transit agencies, is a back-door form of land-banking, which in many European cities, including Stockholm, has been a principle means of leveraging transit-oriented development.


Another promising area is to smartly re-use antiquated and dysfunctional shopping centers.  The trend in retailing toward warehouse-shopping, e-commerce, and mega-entertainment malls has led to the closure of many out-dated 1960s and 1970s shopping centers across the United States.  Like rail parking lots, one of the biggest assets of dying shopping centers is their huge amount of pre-assembled real estate.   One of the more successful adaptive re-uses of a shopping center and integration with rail transit is The Crossings project in Mountain View, California.  The Crossings is an 18-acre compact, mixed-use, and walkable neighborhood near a commuter rail line some 30 miles south of San Francisco.  It replaced a slowly dying shopping center and movie theater that were surrounded, in big-box fashion, by a huge, underutilized surface parking lot.  The project’s 540 housing units have commanded a rent premium, partly because of proximity to rail and partly because of the high-quality of urban design.  Many well-paid young professionals with jobs in downtown San Francisco and the nearby Silicon Valley have opted to buy into The Crossings, drawn by its ambience and exceptional accessibility to transit.  Generous landscaping and public spaces punctuated by an internal pathway network have created a highly attractive urban milieu, notwithstanding residential densities of 30 units per acre, fairly high by suburban California standards.  Zero-lot lines and rear-lot parking have allowed such densities to be achieved.  As a gateway to the Mount View CalTrain station, The Crossings stands as one of the few transit villages oriented toward commuter rail.




Rewarding Efficiency


Pivotal to the success of smart growth is the rewarding of socially and ecological responsible behaviour.  This might take the form of granting credits to impact fees, targeting complementary public improvements, fast-tracking development permits, and offering tax concessions.  Zürich, Switzerland rewards efficiency by dedicating the majority of road rights-of-way to trams, buses, and bicycles.  Advanced monitoring and information technologies have also been used to give preferences to trams and buses at virtually all signalized intersections as well as to provide a continuous flow of information to customers about when transit vehicles are expected to arrive.  Minimum-delay, surface-street transit connections have won over most Zürich residents to public transit, producing one of the highest per capita ridership levels in the world.  Zürich is also one of the world’s wealthiest cities on a per capita basis.  Who says compactness, prosperity, and ecological transportation can’t go hand in hand?



۸٫  Privatization


Privatization of transportation facilities makes good sense more than for fiduciary reasons.  The private sector largely dictates land development, and there is no reason it cannot successfully finance and integrate supportive infrastructure as well.  Over the past century, there has often been a disconnect between privately-led land development and publicly provided infrastructure.  The private sector is best positioned to ensure concordance between the two.  In America, this takes the form of concurrency laws, such as in the state of Florida, wherein private developers must furnish adequate infrastructure to accommodate their projects.  In New Zealand and Australia, privatization has been mostly in the form of concessioning roadway development through BOOT projects.  While the promise of profiteering from tolls is partly behind private interests in road development, so is the prospect of ancillary real-estate development from land holdings near interchanges.  Although on the surface there is nothing wrong with this, the longer term implication is an acceleration of car-oriented development patterns.  A public policy challenge is to elicit private participation in public transport development as well, at least as a counter-balance to privately built highways.  Experiences in Tokyo and Osaka show privatization of suburban railway development can spur compact, mixed-use patterns of suburbanization.  In Japan, suburban railway companies are mainly in the real estate business.  Transportation is a loss-leader in that huge profits are derived from land sales near railway stations.  Companies make handsome profits through value capture, but society at-large generally benefits from the close nexus between rail and land-use development.





۹٫  Multi-Sectoral Planning


Coping with transport problems through the narrow perspective of transport planning is a recipe for failure.  Transport problems are also housing problems.  Why many young couples and first-time home-buyers reside on the metropolitan fringes and endure ultra-long commutes has a lot to do with the unaffordability of decent in-city housing.  Peripheral communities in Auckland and Wellington owe their existence, in part, because many families are displaced from in-city middle-class housing markets.


Linking transport and housing policy makes good financial sense.  Together, transportation and housing often make up a good half or more of household consumption expenditures.  To the degree less is spent on transport, more income is freed up for housing consumption.  This is partly the philosophy of Europe’s successful car-limited settlements and car-sharing schemes.  In the U.S., the concept of Location Efficient Mortgages (LEMs) has gained currency.  If transit-oriented living lowers transportation by relieving residents of the need to own a second car, this frees up more earnings for housing consumption.   This should be reflected by commercial banks when qualifying applicants for home mortgages. Demonstration programs, co-sponsored by Fannie Mae (federal mortgage insurance agency) and several private banks, are currently under way in Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles to pilot-test the location-efficient mortgage concept.


۱۰٫  Cyber-cities of Tomorrow


The growth in information technologies will continue spread more and more of tomorrow’s workplaces into the suburbs, exurbs, and rural hinterlands.  New types of communities are already beginning to take form.  For example, the city of Montgomery far north of Toronto has been designed (eg, laced with fiber optic cable) and marketed as a mixed-use community suited to telecommuters who only need to make the 100-km long trek to their main office in central Toronto once or twice a week.


Some have speculated that home-working and tele-commuting will fail to bring about transportation and environmental benefits because people will adjust by making more and longer non-work trips; borrowing from time-budget theory, the suggestion is that people have an innate desire to travel, and when denied a commute, they compensate by driving more often to shopping malls or taking longer weekend excursions.  A study of a pilot tele-commuting programme of 200 government employees in Sacramento, California found just the opposite (Mokhtarian, 1991).  VKT went down among tele-commuters (to just 20 percent of the distance they normally travelled on commuting days), and on the one or two days a week when they went to their offices, they tended to make more efficient trips (e.g., chaining work, shopping, and personal business travel.  A recent study of tele-work centers, which are neighborhood-based shared workplaces equipped with advanced communications facilities, in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area found VKT was cut by more than half. 


Whether telematics and the internet will substitute for or stimulate physical travel is anyone’s guesss.  What is abundantly clear, however, is that future travel will take on new shapes and forms: international trips (air travel) will increasingly substitute for intrametropolitan trips (car travel); with e-commerce, truck delivery trips will replace personal shopping trips; and real-time information on how to avoid congestion will enhance automobility.   Such structural shifts, of course, will exert strong land-use influences every bit as much as did past transport innovations.  E-commerce suggests the emergence of goods distribution centers in many pockets of the city.  Cyber-work will exert pressures for in-neighborhood shops, services, and “watering holds” for those wanting a break from staring at the screen for four straight hours.  Global-sourcing promises that airports and all the ancillary activities around them will become dominant activity centers and trip generators.


It is sometimes said transportation and land-use planning is today inconsequential because transportation is of weakening importance in location decisions.  Such banter is totally blind to the reality that we are today in the midst of revolutionary changes in forms of transport – albeit more in the way of ideas and information than physical movement.  While the canvass in which we are working with is vastly enlarged, the need for integrating land development and transportation is as great today and in the foreseeable future as anytime in our history.



۱۱٫  Command-and-Control or Choice?


Smart growth is sometimes ridiculed for being tantamount to  “command and control planning”.  Clearly, living in compact, mixed-use, easily walkable communities is not for everyone.  Middle-class and well-to-do households with several or more children and a preference for privacy and seclusion will continue to reside mostly in the suburbs and beyond.  Back-office functions will continue to flock to outlying and far-flung places where real estate prices are cheaper.  Big-box retailers and multi-plex cinemas will continue sprouting on the outskirts.  Smart-growth initiatives in no way intervene in such free-market locational choices as long as those making the choice pay something which comes reasonably close to reflecting true social costs.  Rather, smart growth – whether in the form of an infill housing project on a former transit parking lot or an edge city with a balance of jobs-to-housing and roads-to-busways – is mainly about expanding choices and offerings in a free market context.  More variety in housing choices, in particular, is an adaptation to the steady growth in single-person households, childless couples, and empty-nesters, many of which prefer in-city, small-lot living in attractive environments that are well-served by public transport and easy to get around by bike and foot.  Variety and choice is something that finds broad political and ideological appeal.  It is precisely for this reason that smart-growth will ultimately prevail as the dominant paradigm of community-building in the twenty-first century.


The international community looks to countries like New Zealand to break out of the box of past practices and emerge as an international leader in pro-actively advancing smart growth.  Pluralism and institutional fragmentation preclude progress on this front in many other settings, including the U.S. and much of Europe.  Part of gains will come from expanding choice and diversifying metropolitan landscapes and travel options.  Most, however, will come from creating communities that no longer compel people to drive a car for each and every trip – places that focus more on what’s good for communities and neighborhoods than on swiftness of movement.





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