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Impacts of urban form on future US passenger-vehicle greenhouse gas emissions

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  • Hankey, Steve
  • Marshall, Julian D.

Abstract

Urban form - for example, sprawl versus infill development - impacts people's daily travel patterns and annual vehicle-kilometers traveled (VKT). This paper explores how urban form impacts greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger-vehicles, the largest source of urban transportation GHG emissions. Our research uses a recently published urban scaling rule to develop six scenarios for high- and low-sprawl US urban growth. We develop and apply a Monte Carlo approach that describes ensemble statistics for several dozen urban areas rather than forecasting changes in individual urban areas. Then, employing three vehicle- and fuel-technology scenarios, we estimate total passenger VKT and resulting GHG emissions for US urban areas. Our results indicate that comprehensive compact development could reduce US 2000-2020 cumulative emissions by up to 3.2Â GtCO2e (15-20% of projected cumulative emissions). In general, vehicle GHG mitigation may involve three types of approaches: more-efficient vehicles, lower-GHG fuels, and reduced VKT. Our analyses suggest that all three categories must be evaluated; otherwise, improvements in one or two areas (e.g., vehicle fuel economy, fuel carbon content) can be offset by backsliding in a third area (e.g., VKT growth).

Suggested Citation

  • Hankey, Steve & Marshall, Julian D., 2010. "Impacts of urban form on future US passenger-vehicle greenhouse gas emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4880-4887, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:9:p:4880-4887
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2312-:d:122603 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Salim, Ruhul A. & Shafiei, Sahar, 2014. "Urbanization and renewable and non-renewable energy consumption in OECD countries: An empirical analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 581-591.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1383-:d:107329 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:renene:v:113:y:2017:i:c:p:989-1006 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jing Li & Kevin Lo & Pingyu Zhang & Meng Guo, 2016. "Consumer Travel Behaviors and Transport Carbon Emissions: A Comparative Study of Commercial Centers in Shenyang, China," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(10), pages 1-13, September.
    6. Mörtberg, Ulla & Goldenberg, Romain & Kalantari, Zahra & Kordas, Olga & Deal, Brian & Balfors, Berit & Cvetkovic, Vladimir, 2017. "Integrating ecosystem services in the assessment of urban energy trajectories – A study of the Stockholm Region," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 338-349.
    7. Poumanyvong, Phetkeo & Kaneko, Shinji & Dhakal, Shobhakar, 2012. "Impacts of urbanization on national transport and road energy use: Evidence from low, middle and high income countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 268-277.
    8. Mishalani, Rabi G. & Goel, Prem K. & Landgraf, Andrew J. & Westra, Ashley M. & Zhou, Dunke, 2014. "Passenger travel CO2 emissions in US urbanized areas: Multi-sourced data, impacts of influencing factors, and policy implications," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 231-241.
    9. Harvey, L.D.D., 2013. "Global climate-oriented transportation scenarios," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 87-103.
    10. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2017:i:1:p:19-:d:123917 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Fang, Chuanglin & Wang, Shaojian & Li, Guangdong, 2015. "Changing urban forms and carbon dioxide emissions in China: A case study of 30 provincial capital cities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 519-531.

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