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Urban form and long-term fuel supply decline: A method to investigate the peak oil risks to essential activities


  • Krumdieck, Susan
  • Page, Shannon
  • Dantas, André


The issue of a peak in world oil supply has become a mainstream concern over the past several years. The petroleum geology models of post-peak oil production indicate supply declines from 1.5% to 6% per year. Travel requires fuel energy, but current transportation planning models do not include the impacts of constrained fuel supply on private travel demand. This research presents a method to assess the risk to activities due to a constrained fuel supply relative to projected unconstrained travel demand. The method assesses the probability of different levels of fuel supply over a given planning horizon, then calculates impact due to the energy supply not meeting the planning expectations. A new travel demand metric which characterizes trips as essential, necessary, and optional to wellbeing is used in the calculation. A case study explores four different urban forms developed from different future growth options for the urban development strategy of Christchurch, New Zealand to 2041. Probable fuel supply availability was calculated, and the risk to transport activities in the 2041 transport model was assessed. The results showed all the urban forms had significantly reduced trip numbers and lower energy mode distributions from the current planning projections, but the risk to activities differed among the planning options. Density is clearly one of the mitigating factors, but density alone does not provide a solution to reduced energy demand. The method clearly shows how risk to participation in activities is lower for an urban form which has a high degree of human powered and public transport access to multiple options between residential and commercial/industrial/service destinations. This analysis has led to new thinking about adaptation and reorganization of urban forms as a strategy for energy demand reduction rather than just densification.

Suggested Citation

  • Krumdieck, Susan & Page, Shannon & Dantas, André, 2010. "Urban form and long-term fuel supply decline: A method to investigate the peak oil risks to essential activities," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 306-322, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:44:y:2010:i:5:p:306-322

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. D Banister & S Watson & C Wood, 1997. "Sustainable cities: transport, energy, and urban form," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 24(1), pages 125-143, January.
    2. Mindali, Orit & Raveh, Adi & Salomon, Ilan, 2004. "Urban density and energy consumption: a new look at old statistics," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 143-162, February.
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    4. Höök, Mikael & Hirsch, Robert & Aleklett, Kjell, 2009. "Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2262-2272, June.
    5. Hirsch, Robert L., 2008. "Mitigation of maximum world oil production: Shortage scenarios," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 881-889, February.
    6. Lim, Clark C, 1997. "The status of transportation demand management in Greater Vancouver and energy implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(14-15), pages 1193-1202, December.
    7. Chatterjee, Kiron & Gordon, Andrew, 2006. "Planning for an unpredictable future: Transport in Great Britain in 2030," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 254-264, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Höök, Mikael & Tang, Xu, 2013. "Depletion of fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change—A review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 797-809.
    2. repec:eee:touman:v:43:y:2014:i:c:p:105-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Elisabetta Troglio & Tigran Haas, 2013. "Sustainable Urban Cells and the Energy Transect Modeling: Reconciling the Green and the Urban," ERSA conference papers ersa13p377, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Watcharasukarn, Montira & Page, Shannon & Krumdieck, Susan, 2012. "Virtual reality simulation game approach to investigate transport adaptive capacity for peak oil planning," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 348-367.
    5. Vikström, Hanna & Davidsson, Simon & Höök, Mikael, 2013. "Lithium availability and future production outlooks," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 252-266.


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