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Linking Land Use, Transportation and Travel Behavior in Ohio

Introduction

Links between travel demand, transportation system characteristics, urban form and distribution of population and employment have been the focus of several studies in the literature (Badoe and Miller, 2000; Boarnet and Crane, 2001; Boarnet and Sarmiento, 1998; Cervero et al., 2006; Cervero and Kockelman, 1997; Clifton et al., 2012; Ewing and Cervero, 2001; Ewing and Cervero, 2010; Ewing et al., 2011; Frank and Pivo, 1994). These have been viewed as the sources of several challenges related to energy consumption, global warming, environmental quality, and economic viability. Increasing mobility, primarily in terms of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), has been one key contributor to these challenges, particularly in terms of traffic congestion, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollution and fuel consumption (Badoe and Miller, 2000; Ewing et al., 2011; Stead, 1999). Deterioration of central urban areas and traditional downtowns along with urban sprawl, and the increased use of motorized modes ­particularly private vehicles- have changed people’s lifestyles.

Facing major challenges related to energy consumption, global warming, environmental quality, and economic viability, metropolitan regions around the world are examining the consequences of alternative growth patterns on resource consumption. As we plan for new land use policies and investments in the transportation system over the next decade, we will face a new set of challenges tied to the changing demographic and economic conditions in Ohio, in addition to the rising costs of energy and related policies aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of our economy. The first step in understanding the possible implications of these changes is a deeper understanding of the current relationships between land use and travel behavior, and how these might be impacted by future land use, transportation and energy policies.

Household travel accounts for more than 80 percent of miles traveled on our nation’s roadways and three-quarters of the CO2 emissions from on-road mobile sources (Federal Highway Administration, 2009). The carbon footprint of daily travel for an individual household is based on the types of vehicles that household owns, the fuel efficiency, and the number of miles traveled. Although there are many technological innovations with the potential to reduce transportation emissions from passenger vehicles, several researchers agree that the technological innovations alone will not be enough to reach targeted reductions in emissions, as the projected increase in vehicle miles traveled will outpace the advances in fuel economy and lower carbon fuels (Ewing et al., 2008; Rajan, 2006; Schipper, 2010).

Land use and transportation policies will play a major role in reducing the GHG emissions and shaping the travel patterns in the future. Therefore, there is need to improve our understanding of the links between the land use, transportation policies and individual/household travel behavior to develop sound policies and investment decisions to combat the negative consequences of travel. The tools provided as a result of this research enables the decision makers to make informed decisions regarding the future land use policies, and transportation investments.