Location Efficiency recognizes the inherent efficiency of a place.
While the concept of energy efficiency is a familiar term, locations can be efficient too. Compact neighborhoods with an interconnected street network, access to transit, mixed land uses, and concentration of retail and services are highly efficient communities. When brought together, these elements enable an efficiency of scale.
Broad transportation choices and high access to key destinations that contribute to a vibrant and healthy life are enhanced in such neighborhoods. These neighborhoods require less time, money, and greenhouse gas emissions for residents to meet their everyday travel requirements, and thus have high location efficiency.
An interconnected street network is vital to location efficiency; it links housing to retail and transit. It not only allows for more efficient car movement – but it is equally inviting to pedestrians by providing the choice to walk or take transit to their destination, rather than drive.
The savings add up for households and communities. Transportation costs can range from 15% of household income in location efficient neighborhoods to over 28% in inefficient locations. Greenhouse gas emissions fluctuate too, depending on household reliance on costly, carbon-intensive automobile travel.
The concept of location efficiency led to the development of the Location Efficient Mortgage® (LEM) (no longer available, as of 2011), developed by CNT, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Surface Transportation Policy Project. A LEM is a type of mortgage that recognizes the savings available to people who live in location efficient communities.