Growing Sustainable Transportation in an Autocentric Community: Current Trends and Applications

  • David H. KaplanEmail author


Transportation is among the highlights of human achievement, but it comes at a major cost in exhausting nonrenewable resources and increasing environmental pollution. In particular, the expansion of automobiles throughout the world has led to higher levels of air pollution, greater degree of congestion, and the promotion of urban sprawl. This chapter examines how initiatives in sustainable transportation can counter some of the environmental distress caused by our current transportation system. It first looks at the meaning of sustainable transportation by looking at what makes our transportation system unsustainable, including resource depletion, air pollution, congestion, and inequities in access. It then examines several means by which to shift transportation modes to more walking and bicycling by altering the community infrastructure, encouraging denser housing, functional integration, and traffic calming. It then discusses how to enhance the efficiency of personal vehicles through improvements in gas mileage, introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles, and strategies to make traffic run more smoothly. Finally, the chapter shows how accessibility can be improved for those who have been left behind through greater investments in transit and in making automobiles available for short term use. Taken together, many of these initiatives can lead to a more sustainable transportation future.


Automobile efficiency Bicycling Congestion Modal choice Transportation access Urban sustainability Walking 


  1. AMATS (2012) The AMATS Regional Pedestrian PlanGoogle Scholar
  2. Biello D (2016) Electric cars are not necessarily clean. Sci Am 11 May 2016Google Scholar
  3. Black W (2010) Sustainable transportation: problems and solutions. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Blumenberg E (2017) Social equity and urban transportation. In: Giuliano, Hanson (eds) The geography of urban transportation, Guilford, New York, pp 332–358Google Scholar
  5. Brundtland GH (1987) Report of the world commission on environment and development: our common future. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  6. Cervero R (1998) The transit metropolis: a global inquiry. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. Congress for the New Urbanism (2000) Charter of the new urbanism. Bull Sci Technol Soc 20(4):339–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dannenberg AL, Frumkin H, Jackson R (eds) (2011) Making healthy places: designing and building for health, well-being, and sustainability. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  9. Dargay J, Gately D, Sommer M (2007) Vehicle ownership and income growth, worldwide: 1960–2030. Energy J 28(4):143–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dill J (2009) Bicycling for transportation and health: the role of infrastructure. J Pub Health Policy 30:S95–S110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Downs A (2004) Still stuck in traffic: coping with peak-hour traffic congestion, Rev edn. Brookings Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Dunphy R, Brett DL, Rosenbloom S, Bald A (1997) Moving beyond gridlock: traffic and development. ULI-Urban Land Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  13. Duany A, Plater-Zyberk E, Speck J (2000) Suburban nation: the rise of sprawl and the decline of the american dream. North Point Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Duranton G, Turner MA (2011) The fundamental law of road congestion: evidence from US cities. Am Econ Rev 101:2616–2652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ewing R (2008) Traffic calming in the United States: are we following Europe’s lead? Urban Des Int 13:90–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ewing R, Cervero R (2010) Travel and the built environment: a meta-analysis. J Am Plan Assoc 76(3):1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Faiz A (2011) Transportation and the urban poor. ITE JGoogle Scholar
  18. Federal Aviation Administration (2015) Fact3: airport capacity needs in the national airspace systemGoogle Scholar
  19. Federal Highway Administration (2009) Summary of travel trends 2009 national household travel surveyGoogle Scholar
  20. FIA Foundation (2009) 50 by 50 global fuel economy initiativeGoogle Scholar
  21. Frumkin H, Wendel AM, Abrams RF, Malizia E (2011) An introduction to healthy places. In Dannenberg AL, Frumkin H, Jackson R (eds) Making healthy places: designing and building for health, well-being, and sustainability. Island Press, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gibbs DC, Longhurst J, Braithwaite C (1998) ‘Struggling with sustainability’: weak and strong interpretations of sustainable development within local authority policy. Environ Plan A 30(8):1351–1365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gibson RB (2006) Sustainability assessment: basic components of a practical approach. Impact Assess Proj Apprais 24(3):170–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Greenlees J (1980) Gasoline prices and purchases of new automobiles. South Econ J 47(1):167–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gutfreund OD (2004) Twentieth-century sprawl: highways and the reshaping of the American landscape. Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaplan DH (2015) Transportation sustainability on a university campus. Int J Sustain High Educ 16(2):173–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kay JH (1997) Asphalt nation: how the automobile took over America, and how we can take it back. University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  28. Kennedy C, Miller E, Shalaby A, Maclean H, Coleman J (2005) The four pillars of sustainable urban transportation. Transp Rev 25(4):393–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Klein D, Moore A, Rija B (1996) Free to cruise: creating curb space for jitneys. Access Mag 8:2–6Google Scholar
  30. Kunstler JH (1994) Geography of nowhere: the rise and decline of America’s man-made landscape. Simon and SchusterGoogle Scholar
  31. Litman T, Burwell D (2006) Issues in sustainable transportation. Int J Glob Environ Issue 6(4):331–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCann B, Ewing R (2003) Measuring the health effects of sprawl. Surface Transportation Policy Project, Smart Growth AmericaGoogle Scholar
  33. McKenzie B, Rapino M (2011) Commuting in the United States: 2009. United States Census BureauGoogle Scholar
  34. Meadows DH, Meadows DL, Randers J, Behrens WW (1972) The limits to growth. Universe, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Miller TR, Wiek A, Sarewitz D, Robinson J, Olsson L, Kriebel D, Loorbach D (2014) The future of sustainability science: a solutions-oriented research agenda. Sustain Sci 9:239–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mukhija V, Shoup D (2006) Quantity versus quality in off-street parking requirements. J Am Plan Assoc 72(3)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nealer R, Anair DRD (2015) Cleaner cars from cradle to grave: how electric cars beat gasoline cars on lifetime global warming emissions. Union of Concerned ScientistsGoogle Scholar
  38. Noland RB, Gao D, Gonzales EJ, Brown C (2015) Costs and benefits of a road diet conversion. Case Stud Transp Policy 3(2015):449–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. OECD (2014) Table 4.A4.5 Consumption tax trendsGoogle Scholar
  40. O’Dell J (2013) Hybrid and electric car technology helps gas cars gain MPG: how advanced efficiency cars can save the gas burners.
  41. Ogden JM, Sperling LFD (2016) Making the transition to light-duty electric-drive vehicles in the U.S.: costs in perspective to 2035. UC-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Research report. UCD-ITS-RR-16–21Google Scholar
  42. Poushter J (2015) Car, bike or motorcycle? Depends on where you live. Pew Research Center 4/16/15
  43. Pucher J, Dill J, Handy S (2010) Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: an international review. Suppl Prev Med 50(January):S106–S125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Redclift M (2005) Sustainable development (1987–2005): an oxymoron comes of age. Sustain Dev 13(4):212–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Richie H (2017) How long before we run out of fossil fuels? In: Our world in DATA. 8/8/17
  46. Rivasplata C, Iseki H, Smith A (2012) Transit coordination in the US: a survey of current practice. J Pub Transp 15(1):53–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rubenstein JM (1986) Changing distribution of the American automobile industry. Geogr Rev 76:3:288–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shoup DC (2005) The high cost of free parking, vol 206. Planners Press, Chicago, p 2005Google Scholar
  49. Shoup DC (2010) Fixing broken sidewalks. Access Mag 36:30–36Google Scholar
  50. Speck J (2013) Walkable city: how downtown can save America, one step at a time. MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  51. Talen E (1999) Sense of community and neighborhood form: an assessment of the social doctrine of new urbanism. Urban Stud 36(8):1361–1379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Texas Transportation Institute (2015) URBAN mobility reportGoogle Scholar
  53. Train KE, Winston C (2007) Vehicle choice behavior and the declining market share of US automakers. Int Econ Rev 48(4):1469–1496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vojnovic I (2013) Advancing towards urban sustainability: the pursuit of equity. In: Vojnovic I (ed) Urban sustainability: a global perspective. Michigan State Press, East Lansing, MIGoogle Scholar
  55. Vuchic V (2010) Transportation for livable cities: problems, obstacles, and successful solutions. In: World cities: achieving livability and vibrancy, pp 105–130. Jan 2010. Scholar
  56. Warner M, Morken L (2013) Building child- and age-friendly communities in tight fiscal times. In: The municipal year book. International City County Management Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  57. White G (2015) Stranded: how America’s failing public transportation increases inequality. Atl Mon. May 16Google Scholar
  58. Winters M, Brauer M, Setton EM, Teschke K (2010) Built environment influences on healthy transportation choices: bicycling versus driving. J Urban Health: Bull New York Acad Med 87(6):969–993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. World Bank (2017) Transport overview.
  60. World Health Organization (2014) Ambient air pollution database. WHO, May 2014Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKent State UniversityKentUSA

Personalised recommendations