Transit-Oriented Development & Climate Change: the Symbiosis

This new view of cities shows that households produce less GHG emissions

This map shows that cities produces less GHG's, per capita, than areas that require more Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).

CNT, through our partnership with the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), has released, “Transit-Oriented Development and the Potential for VMT-related Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction.” This report provides a quantitative analysis of potential greenhouse gas reductions of transit-oriented development from the transport sector.

The research, led by CNT, finds that by living in a central city near transit, the average household can reduce its transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent. The number increases when living near the most location efficient transit zones, which can result in a 78 percent emission reduction.

“This research shows that, in a nutshell, location does indeed matter,” said Scott Bernstein, President of CNT. “Individuals and families that live near transit centers own fewer automobiles, drive fewer miles, and leave a much smaller carbon footprint than those who don’t.”

The report was funded through CTOD’s cooperative agreement with the Federal Transit Administration, and provides more evidence of transit’s role in building economically and environmentally sustainable communities across the country.

“We’ve long known that living near transit can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development. “This is an important milestone in helping to quantify those reductions, and we hope something that can influence policy and implementation of sustainable communities served by high-quality transit options.”

As a follow-up to the report, CTOD will be working on a toolkit to help communities quantify their emissions reductions and proactively put in place strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as more detailed regional analysis in several other regions around the country.

Download “Transit-Oriented Development and The Potential for VMT-related Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction.” (.pdf 5MB)