The daily commute from home to work contributes vastly to GHG emissions and daily congestion. This session will highlight papers looking at how the commute affects sustainability. One paper models the effects of different scenarios for relocating households closer to work locations. Another considers how geographic and other characteristics can create "sweet spots" where commute and emissions per mile combine to create maximum sustainable travel. The last paper delves into what it would take for a jobs-housing balance strategy to reduce VMT.
Hitting the Sweet Spot: Variability in Commute Lengths and Vehicle Emissions Across a Diverse State
Andrew Mondschein, University of VirginiaShow Abstract
A. Emily Parkany, Vermont Agency of Transportation
In this paper we consider travel across Virginia and identify sustainability sweet spots where commute lengths and vehicle emissions per mile combine to maximize green travel in terms of total CO2 emissions associated with commuting. The analysis is conducted across local voter precincts (N=2,373 in the state) because they are a useful proxy for neighborhoods and well-sized for implementing policy designed to encourage green behavior. The analysis also shows changes over time. Virginia is especially appropriate for an examination of change because the state’s development, demographic, and political patterns have been changing rapidly. We identify four Virginia precinct-based sustainability clusters: Sweet Spots, Emerging Sweet Spots, Neutral and Non-sustaining. A model of demographic differences among the clusters shows that sustainability outcomes are highly associated with the diverse demography of the state. We also look at changes in the transportation and socio-demographic trends within the clusters over the past half decade, showing that differences in sustainability and demographic metrics are actually accelerating within the state over time. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the differences among the clusters for developing and implementing effective transportation sustainability policies across the state.
Convergence of Social Equity and Environmental Sustainability: Jobs-Housing Fit and Commute Distance
Alex Karner, University of Texas, AustinShow Abstract
Chris Benner, University of California, Santa Cruz
Researchers have long argued that achieving a rough balance between the number of jobs and housing in a local area can be a valuable way of reducing vehicle miles traveled. Given the complexity of factors shaping commute patterns, however, evidence of a relationship between jobs-housing balance and travel patterns has been less robust. Recent advances in data availability and computing power have enabled a more sophisticated examination of the fitbetween jobs and housing in local areas, not just the balance,which is important since, for example, if the jobs available in a particular area do not pay well enough to afford the housing stock that is locally available, the “balance” that exists is illusory. Using data from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Origin-Destination Employment Statistics, we compare the attracted commute distance for all census tracts in the state of California, comparing a simple measure of jobs-housing balance to a more complex measure of low-wage jobs/affordable housing fit. While there are some limits in these data, we find that the jobs housing fit measure is strongly correlated with lower commute distances, including when controlling for a range of other appropriate variables. This finding has particular relevance in relation to lower income residents, who are more sensitive to higher housing and transportation costs, and who are more likely to drive older, higher-emissions vehicles. Thus, by being associated with both lower commute distances and improved circumstances for low-income populations, better jobs housing fit seems to have both social equity and environmental sustainability outcomes.
Optimization Scenarios of Home-Work Distances in Montreal, Canada
Oussama Saoudi Hassani, Ecole Polytechnique de MontrealShow Abstract
Nicolas Saunier, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal
Catherine Morency, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal
In Montreal, traffic congestion during peak hours is mainly caused by commuting trips. Many authors argue that a more effective management of car trips could help improve the situation. This paper presents optimisation scenarios of home-work distances in the Greater Montreal Area. The objective of this theoretical exercise is to assess the maximum reduction in home-work distances that could result from a “better choice” in home location by workers.
By combining data from the 2008 Origin-Destination (OD) survey and the 2011 National Survey of Households, it is possible to assess the effectiveness of the delocalization of households. Three scenarios minimising total home-work distances are investigated: S1) reallocation of workers while accounting for household size, S2) reallocation of workers while accounting for household size and dwelling type and S3) reallocation of workers while accounting for household size, dwelling type and tenure type (owned or rented dwelling). All scenarios are estimated at the municipal level.
Moving workers to other home locations based on S1 reduces home-work distances by 58 %, down from 11,308,574 pers-km to 4,743,577 pers-km. As real travel distance between home and work are at least twice this distance, this represents a very important reduction. S2 reduces home-work distances to 5,424,141 pers-km; it is more restrictive but still accounts for significant reduction potential. Finally, when estimating S3, the most restrictive scenario, total home-work distances reduce by over 51 % (down to 5,718,749 pers-km). The paper examines the spatial structure of the results and provide ideas for policy application.
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