Can Land Use Management Reduce Energy Consumption for Transportation?

by Guy J. Pauker

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In this paper, the author explores the validity of the notion that if land use management can be applied to the problem of energy conservation, it would obviously be by changes in the relative location of homes, jobs, recreational amenities, etc., so as to minimize the distances people would have to travel. Data are drawn from a questionnaire included as part of the 1972 census of the City of Cerritos, the fastest-growing residential community in Los Angeles County in 1971. Questions ranged from car age and mileage to reasons for moving to Cerritos. To the question "What is the greatest advantage to your present home?" 36.4 percent answered "more dwelling space," 11.1 percent, "owning the house," and only 2.4 percent, "proximity to work." Conclusions are: It is politically, economically, and technologically easier to find ways to conserve energy in transportation by improving motor vehicle performance and by developing public transportation than by land use controls. (Presented at Caltech Seminar Series, "Energy Consumption in Private Transportation," April 1974.)

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