Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sustainable Transportation

A recent comparative study by The Brookings Institution, Making Transportation Sustainable: Insights from Germany, explores the key differences and determinants of travel behavior in Germany and the United States.  For purposes of the study, sustainability is defined as follows:
. . . encouraging shorter trips by modes of transportation that require less energy and generate less harmful environmental impacts. Moreover, a more sustainable transportation system should foster commerce, reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, increase safety, provide equal access to destinations for all groups of society, and enhance the quality of life.
The study concludes that
The German experience offers five lessons to the United States for improving transportation sustainability through changes in travel behavior:
-Get the Price Right in order to encourage the use of less polluting cars, driving at non-peak hours and more use of public transportation
-Integrate Transit, Cycling, and Walking as Viable Alternatives to the Car, as a necessary measure to make any sort of car-restrictive measures publicly and politically feasible
-Fully Coordinate and Integrate Planning for Land Use and Transportation to discourage car-dependent sprawl and promote transit-oriented development
-Public Information and Education to Make Changes Feasible are essential in conveying the benefits of more sustainable policies and enforcing their results over the long term
-Implement Policies in Stages with a Long Term Perspective because it takes considerable time to gather the necessary public and political support and to develop appropriate measures. 
This report was prepared as part of Brookings' Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative.

Visit the Transportation and Planning archives for more on these topics.

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