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pbic currents

Issue 3 (10-16-01)
Reducing Air Pollution and Increasing Livability through Improving the Pedestrian and Bicycling Environment.

journal and magazine articles

especially helpful resource

Journal and Magazine Articles:

"Adjusting Computer Modeling Tools to Capture Effects of Smart Growth: or 'Poking at the Project Like a Lab Rat' ". G. Walters, R. Ewing, and W. Schroeer. Transportation Research Record No. 1722, Transportation Land Use and Smart Growth. pp 17-26

A developer in Atlanta, Georgia, asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow construction of a bridge that would make viable a proposed mixed-use development on an industrial site near downtown Atlanta. EPA's evaluation of the request was the agency's first explicit examination, in a regulatory context, of urban planning as a means of reducing air pollution. As part of evaluating the developer's petition, a team of EPA consultants developed and applied innovative travel forecasting methods to accurately reflect the differences in transportation impacts among different development designs for the Atlantic Steel site. The methods also compare the impacts associated with developing the Atlantic Steel in-fill site with those of pushing the development into more remote "greenfield" areas of the region. The team devised a series of enhancements to the conventional travel forecasting methods, related to zone structure and trip-length profiles, network connectivity for intrazonal and neighboring-zone travel, representation of transit accessibility, influence of parking costs, recognition of nonmotorized travel, sensitivity to pedestrian environment factors, and sensitivity to site design based on the latest national research. With the help of these forecasting and analysis methods, the Atlantic Steel site studies show that certain site design amenities reduce travel. They also show that, when both regional location and site design enable people to travel by a mix of modes, measurably lower emissions and environmental impacts result.

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"Go Slower, Get There Faster." C. Rist. Discover Magazine June 2001. 22 . pp 73-80.

Traffic in the U.S. has worsened markedly over the last several years. In a recent study of 68 urban areas, the Texas Transportation Institute found that drivers now spend 350% more time stopped in traffic than they did just 15 years ago. This special technology report contains a series of articles on various national efforts to help reduce traffic congestion and negative environmental impacts such as air pollution from motor vehicle emissions. The technologies and planning solutions discussed include: defense supercomputer systems retasked to combat traffic problems; greater use of traffic circles to reduce delays and fatalities; advanced battery-powered bicycle vehicles; urban design efforts to encourage harmony between cars and pedestrians; and alternative-fuel engine vehicles powered by methanol, hydrogen, and electricity.

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"Effective Transit Requires Walkable Communities: Land Use Lessons of Transport. Patterns in Four World Cities." C.S. Konheim and B. Ketcham. Transportation Research Record No. 1722, Transportation Land Use and Smart Growth. pp 56-66.

Transportation systems in the metropolitan areas of London, Paris, New York, and Tokyo are spreading outward from their historical and economic cores. The principal determinant of travel demand and mode in the four cities is the extent to which housing and employment are clustered around transit. High transit use and low automobile use in the inner zones of New York, which has the largest number of rapid-transit stations of all four cities, indicates that more daily trip needs can be met by walking. Comparisons of outer zones of New York and Tokyo show similar total population density but strikingly different configurations of settlement and greatly contrasting travel patterns. The land use configurations of each region are as much the product of institutional and economic forces as of each city's geography, history, and culture. London, the urban area most similar to the New York region in size and culture, is responding to aggressive national policies that mandate land use plans to promote town centers and reduce travel demand. Long-range planning processes in Tokyo and Paris have achieved transit-oriented development even in their outer zones. In contrast, hundreds of municipalities in the 31-county New York metropolitan area make reactive land use decisions influenced by incentives to sprawl inherent in the U.S. economy.



Urban Street Activity in 20 mph Zones Seedley, Salford. Traffic Advisory Leaflet. London: United Kingdom Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, 2001. Full text at:

The Charging and Local Transport Division of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) commissioned an examination of six 20 mph urban street zones. This leaflet covers one of the zones. The investigation covered vehicle emissions and travel modes, including bicycling and walking, within the zone itself and in the immediate area surrounding it. The project also examined the perceptions and attitudes of residents to any changes that had arisen.

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Traffic Advisory Leaflets is an ongoing series issued by the U.K. Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) on such topics as bicycle facilities, traffic management, environmental and safety issues, and pedestrianisation. These leaflets are concise, well-illustrated with photographs and diagrams, and offer useful and practically technical information. The complete index of DTLR Traffic Advisory Leaflets available for downloading from the DTLR web site is at:

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Environmental Characteristics of Smart Growth Neighborhoods - An Exploratory Case Study. New York, NY: The Natural Resources Defense Council, in cooperation with the United States Environmental Protection Agency: October 2000. Full text at:

Preliminary evidence from this study of the Metro Square neighborhood in Sacramento, California, suggests that the location and features of a smart community may make a difference in reducing driving and attendant motor vehicle pollution. Survey results indicate that residents of the community may be over four times as likely as residents in conventional Sacramento developments to accomplish daily tasks by walking and may take only half as many driving trips, driving a total of between only 50 and 60 percent as many miles. This translates into fuel and energy saved, as well as fewer emissions of greenhouse gases and unhealthy air pollutants. The study is one of the first to examine a fully completed and occupied development.

Contents of the study include results of a survey questionnaire that was mailed to all Metro Square households to obtain the residents’ best estimates of their travel behavior and examine travel characteristics at the previous residence before moving to Metro Square. Tables compare travel demands in Metro Square with regional averages and those from another subdivision.

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New Community Design to the Rescue: Fulfilling Another American Dream. Joel S. Hirschhorn and Paul Souza. Washington, D.C : National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices, 2001. full text at:

This report explores how states and communities can encourage New Community Design -- mixed-use, mixed-income, walkable development by eliminating institutional barriers in the marketplace. Problems with current patterns of community development are examined, including supply and demand. Principles of new community design and its benefits are presented. A useful checklist based on the NGA's Principles for Better Land Use provides a systematic approach for evaluating development projects. Guidance is offered to state government agencies for developing public support for better planning of land use, providing assistance to local governments in changing development patterns, reducing government support for development policies that create sprawl, and creation of public/private partnerships that support and finance sustainable development.



Here are some Internet sites with significant content on prevention and control of air pollution through promoting nonmotorized transportation.

The U.S. Department of Energy's "Information Bridge" gives access to the full text of reports. Use the -Easy Search- option to search for reports on nonmotorized transportation.

The Transportation Research Board's Publications Index

The Federal Highway Administration's Environment web site, at

The Center for Transportation Analysis of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has reports, journal articles, and published presentations online at

The Victoria Transport Policy Institute's web site:

The EPA's Transportation Air Quality (TRAQ) Center provides state and local air quality regulators and transportation planners with access to critical information regarding transportation programs and mobile source incentive-based programs, partnership opportunities, grant funding sources, useful contact names, and technical assistance.

Walk San Francisco promotes walking as a safe and sustainable form of transportation to increase the city's livability, enhance public life, and improve public and environmental health. It is a coalition of organizations and individuals that seeks to improve San Francisco's walking environment through activism and policy advocacy that educates residents, city agencies, and elected officials regarding the need for more pedestrian-friendly streets. This carefully maintained site includes access to issues of the group's newsletter, text of relevant newspaper articles a bibliography, links to related web sites, and more.

The International Center for Local Environmental Initiatives and its United States office, offers resources to local government agencies for implementation of sustainable environmental policies, including nonmotorized transportation.


Thanks to Audrey de Nazelle, graduate student in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for her contributions to this issue of PBIC Currents.