Solution to Higher Gas Prices: Build Location-Efficient Communities

gas-pricesHow can we protect households and communities from the impact of higher gas prices? What can local officials do avoid the brunt of high gas prices and reduce the cost of living this year?

In today’s Planetizen, CNT’s President Scott Bernstein says that the most effective solution is to reduce the demand by creating “location-efficient” communities. In 2008, when gas prices hovered around $4, our research showed that households in “location-efficient” communities were less vulnerable to the gas spike. Residents of the most location efficient communities—cities and suburbs served by transit—were able to hold down their costs partly by increasing their use of public transit, and in fact those places saw the greatest increases in transit ridership. Communities with poor transit access had the lowest increases (or even declines) in transit use over that period.

Scott outlines near- and long-term solutions to the gas price squeeze. Reducing demand for gas means expanding the number of location efficient communities. Projects to make that happen, such as expanding transit, will take a sense of urgency, investment and some mechanism for sharing risk.

Read Scott’s essay— “$4 per Gallon Gas? Are We Ready?—to learn more about these solutions. There is no time to waste. We need change the status quo and protect residents from volatile transportation costs.

Download the PDF here.

(Photo from Planetizen.com)