5 Reasons to Encourage Public Transportation & Walkable Land Use

Public Transportation and Walkability benefits everyone. These are five ways smart growth can help the environment.
Jan 26, 2016 9:30 AM ET

Smart Growth is defined as planned development that aims to curb urban sprawl and reverse the negative impact on the environment – or to put it positively, Smart Growth development is characterized by compact, well-connected, richly-amenitized communities. In today’s rebound economy and vulnerable environment, Smart Growth has never been more applicable.

1) Healthy lifestyles

Smart Growth communities, with networks of complete streets and well-programmed parks, make it easier for people to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives by providing safe places to exercise outside. Recent research shows that America’s obesity epidemic is finally turning the corner. Healthier living and working environments can drive the goal of healthier lifestyles home.

2) Protects our most valuable commodity – time

Decades of sprawl development has added greenhouse gases to our environment, and equally importantly minutes to our daily commute. The Housing and Transportation Affordability Index is a good place to start as Smart Growth communities aim for an index under 45%. However, the H+T index does not factor in the opportunity cost of time spent on the road, usually in miles of agonizing traffic. Designing communities near job centers and centered around transit have the dual benefit of saving time and sparing the environment.