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Land Use Policy and Transportation: Why We Won't Get There from Here

Genevieve Giuliano
The purpose of this paper is to consider the effectiveness of land use policy as an instrument for reducing environmental and other external costs associated with ownership and use of the private automobile. Emphasis is placed on the long run, since land use change is a slow process, and consequently can potentially have significant effects only in the long run. I will argue that land use change is driven by factors over which we have little policy control, and that current trends of decentralization will continue in the future. Although the link between urban form and travel behavior may be significant, it is highly unlikely that policy actions could shift urban form to patterns associated with less private vehicle travel. The paper begins by presenting some information on international trends in travel and land use patterns. Then I discuss explanatory factors associated with these trends. The final part of the paper addresses the future, and considers the potential of land use policies in the context of long run trends.