Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
DC Streetsblog

Study: 10% More Smart Growth = 20% Less Driving

A professor at San Francisco State University recently developed an econometric model to study how smart growth affects travel behavior. His finding: quite a bit.

false

Dr. Sudip Chattopadhyay measured the impact of certain smart growth indicators on 18 metro areas across the US. He found that a 10 percent increase in smart growth amenities -- measured by residential and job density and per-capita transit spending -- leads to a 20 percent reduction in miles driven.

"This is a huge impact," said Chattopadhyay. "Success is gradual and long lasting."

The study, published in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, set out to determine if smart growth or taxation strategies like increasing the fuel tax has a bigger impact on driving behavior. His finding was that smart growth produced a bigger return: 18 percent reduction for taxing versus 20 percent for smart growth.

Further, the study found that if mid-sized California cities like Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield had similar density and transit amenities as some of the state's larger cities -- the Bay Area and Los Angeles -- they could expect to see a 55 percent reduction in per household driving activity, or about 5,238 miles per year.

Chattopadhyay said his findings lend support to California's State Bill 375 and Assembly Bill 32. Both laws promote efficient land use to help curb global warming. The study did not examine other benefits of smart growth, such as better health and environmental outcomes.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Upcoming CicLAvia Maps: August in the Hollywoods, September in Lincoln Heights, and More

Mark your calendars: August 18 in West Hollywood through East Hollywood, September 15 in Lincoln Heights, October 13 in the Heart of L.A., and December 8 in the Valley

July 15, 2024

This Week In Livable Streets

Metro board committees, Metro and Caltrans 605/5/10/60/105 freeway expansion, Arroyo Seco ride, C Line delays, 105 Freeway corridor equity, and more

July 15, 2024

Long Beach Leads in Traffic Circles

Traffic circles aren't quite ubiquitous in Long Beach, but they're around. Riding and walking through the city one encounters circles in neighborhoods rich and poor, new and old.

July 12, 2024
See all posts