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Cities and accessibility: The potential for carbon reductions and the need for national leadership

Bartholomew establishes a framework that offers constructive direction for policy development towards an accessible built environment and a reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Unlike mobility, accessibility focuses on the purpose behind a trip, rather than simply accommodating a trip with current infrastructure (mobility concept). The focus in current planning techniques in the US dates from the 70s and is focused on mobility with no consideration of accessibility. Using accessibility as primary organizing structure, he discusses four policy levers in Part I to reduce VMT: transportation infrastructure, transportation pricing, transportation education, and land use. In Part II he suggests an emerging technique, land use-transportation scenario planning, to operationalize the framework and assess the potential carbon emission reductions resulting from different policies. He concludes in Part III that accessibility-based land use-transportation scenario planning holds substantial promise as a decision-making tool that could lead to meaningful cuts in carbon emissions. While the technique is accommodated by several important federal environmental and transportation statutes, the fit is awkward. The Article concludes that national leadership is needed for the development of statutory revisions, principally in the federal transportation planning and funding law, which is scheduled for renewal by Congress in 2009.
Keith Bartholomew
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
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