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Nature_and_Environment.93

Transportation Issues

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{Nature_and_Environment.93.7}: ... {wren1111} Mon, 11 Feb 2008 15:39:54 CST (HTML)

The Next Car Debate: Total Miles Driven "http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120190455899936509.html"

From 1977 to 2001, the number of miles driven every year by Americans rose by 151% -- about five times faster than the growth in population, according to data compiled for a 2006 report to the U.S. Department of Transportation written by Stephen Polzin, a transportation researcher at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The reasons for the big growth in miles traveled are pretty obvious if you don't live in the center of a big city endowed with functioning public transport. To make space for ever larger suburban homes, housing developers pushed further and further from city centers and shopping areas. New neighborhoods often had street layouts cluttered with cul de sacs that forced people to drive farther to get to main roads or stores. Local zoning laws -- reflecting the preferences of residents -- tended to separate commercial and residential uses, and single family from multi-family dwellings. Meanwhile, the bulk of the money spent on transportation infrastructure was directed to building more and bigger highways. We could have subsidized bullet trains and more light rail systems, but we didn't.

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