Measuring Land Use Performance: Policy, Plan, and Outcome

Measuring Land Use Performance: Policy, Plan, and Outcome

The impact of land use patterns on travel behavior is well established in the scholarly literature. In particular, much research in the transportation-land use domain has measured the impact of land use on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or on travel behavior indicators like mode choice that suggest VMT, where it cannot be measured directly. Indeed, Ewing and Cervero reviewed 200 studies published between 2001 and 2010 alone, summarizing evidence from this abundant literature that increases in such land use attributes as residential density, land use mix, accessibility, network connectivity, and jobs-housing balance generally correlate with modest reductions in VMT.
Such evidence has fostered consensus in California and elsewhere supporting public policy that promotes higher density development, greater mixture of land uses, and improved access to employment and housing. By passing the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, known as SB 375, California lawmakers acknowledged that land use planning could attenuate automobile use and, consequently, help to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Further, the law raises expectations for California communities to grow more equitably, with attention to affordable housing. It syncs local housing planning with regional transportation planning, requires local governments to specify actions to meet low-income housing needs, and can compel rezoning to speed affordable housing production where local inertia would delay it.

Gian-Claudia Sciara

National Center for Sustainable Transportation

October 2015

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By |2018-01-01T00:00:00-08:00January 1st, 2018|Affordability, Efficiency/Growth, Land Use Regulation, Reference|