We've known for a while now that it isn't just the transportation that matters, it's also the land use it serves. And new research from Smart Growth America is another rather compelling argument for it. It basically states that compact development is key to reducing auto dependence and the effects of climate change. This report also uses the expertise of Jerry Walters at Fehr & Peers who with his colleagues there has come up with the direct ridership model which does a better job at predicting ridership based on different access to the stations such as bikes, buses, and walking based on the land uses and the surrounding grid. Previous studies referenced in this report state that there is a 35% reduction in driving from compact development.
The 1994 Portland Metro Travel Survey stated that people who live in mixed use communities with good transit take about 9.8 VMT per capita versus 21.7 VMT per capita. That's rather impressive and shows that increases in transportation and land use measures would benefit cities who are looking to reduce VMT. This finding was used to show that the over 7,000 housing units built on the streetcar line downtown in walkable, transit oriented neighborhoods, would reduce VMT by 31 million a year. If we say that a gallon of gas is 20 pounds of carbon, then we would reduce carbon emissions by 24.8 million pounds if fuel economy is 25 mpg which is being really generous.
More transit options, more compact development, reduced VMT.