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PAPER: The Economic Viability of Sustainable Transportation 

From: Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy, Australia
Category: Category 2
Date: 14 Apr 2000
Time: 13:52:07
Remote Name:



The energy, environmental and social benefits of sustainable transportation have always been recognised but are now mainstream as Kyoto and the community politics of transportation indicate. However sustainable transportation has always been seen as secondary in economic terms unless lots of unquantifiable parameters were included. The results of a study for the World Bank now show that cities with significant sustainable transportation systems are least costly in terms of a range of parameters including the amount of road expenditure, transit operating cost recovery, fuel-efficiency, road accidents, air pollution and in overall terms the % of city wealth that goes into transportation. The data show that cities with the most roads hare the most costs for their transportation and the most rail-oriented cities have the least transportation costs. Further, the single most important variable relating to transportation efficiency is the density of the city - the most sprawling cities are the most costly. Thus strategies to contain sprawl, to reurbanise , to traffic calm, to build new light rail systems into car dependent suburbs with focussed sub centres, and to facilitate biking and walking, all appear to add to the economy of a city. Strategies that build freeways and add to sprawl are draining the economy of cities. Global information trends are making the need for these sustainable urban patterns even more necessary. The need to operationalise these strategies in planning and engineering practice and in the politics of infrastructure funding remain the major challenges.

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Last changed: March 13, 2002