Land Use and Driving: The Role Compact Development Can Play in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Land Use and Driving Report

Published 2010

When people have the opportunity to work, play, and shop closer to their homes, they drive less. This translates into reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and helps in the fight against climate change. Land Use and Driving: The Role Compact Development Can Play in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions shows that changing our land use patterns can be a meaningful component of broader strategies to address climate change.

Compact development—mixing residences and other buildings in pedestrian- and transit-friendly places—offers many benefits, from fostering the emergence of vibrant, walkable communities to lowering infrastructure costs. Now, the climate and energy benefits of compact development are being documented as well. While there is no silver bullet in the fight against climate change, compact development is emerging as an important tool in the climate and energy toolbox.

Land Use and Driving summarizes the land use and climate change conclusions of three recent studies, Moving Cooler, Growing Cooler (both published by ULI) and Driving and the Built Environment, published by the Transportation Research Board at the National Academy of Sciences. On a national basis, the three studies show reductions in VMT and energy consumption of between 8 and 18 percent when compact development makes up 60 percent or more of all future development between now and 2050.

The publication of Land Use and Driving is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and
ULI trustee James Curtis as part of the ULI National Transportation Policy Dialogue.

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