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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sustainable Development and Sustainable Transportation: Strategies for Economic Prosperity, Environmental Quality, and Equity


Concerns about environmental quality, social equity, economic vitality, and the threat of climate change have converged to produce a growing interest in the concept of sustainable development. Efforts are being made all over the world to increase the sustainability of development patterns. In nations with more advanced economies, particular attention is being paid to the critical roles played by transportation, land use, and activity systems. This paper reviews current thinking about sustainable transportation as part of a broader strategy of transportation and land use planning for sustainability.

Strategies for increasing transportation sustainability include demand management, operations management, pricing policies, vehicle technology improvements, clean fuels, and integrated land use and transportation planning. In the past, planning and implementation of such strategies has been slow and spotty, deterred by the complexities of the underlying issues along with uncertainties about the magnitude and timing of impacts, the efficacy of available courses of action, and the consequences of action or inaction. Recently, however, a new interest in actively pursuing these strategies has emerged. Regional planners are increasingly being asked to take a leadership role in these planning efforts, applying their expertise to analysis of the issues and creating forums for discussion, conflict resolution, and joint undertakings.

The paper concludes with an identification of topics deserving additional research, as well as a detailed bibliography on sustainable development topics.

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