Costs of Sprawl -- 2000

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - history, land use - impacts, land use - planning, land use - urban sprawl, ridership - forecasting, ridership - forecasting, ridership - growth, policy - sustainable, economics - benefits, place - urban


Controlled-growth scenario, Costs, Dwellings, Economic analysis, Economic impacts, Forecasting, Future, History, Land use planning, Noncontrolled-growth scenario, Policy making, Quality of life, Research, Social benefits, Sustainable development, Transportation, United States, Urban decline, Urban growth, Urban sprawl


This report on urban sprawl is presented in 16 chapters, which are divided into four parts. Part I, Setting the Scene, has five chapters providing background information. Chapter 1 addresses sprawl and its historical context in the United States. Chapter 2 defines the terms and describes the databases used in the research project; in particular, the chapter explains the advantages of the county-level analysis used in this national study. Focusing on the period 2000 to 2025, Chapter 3 discusses projected growth in the United States by region, by economic area, and by county. Chapter 4 presents analysis results regarding the incidence of sprawl and the potential for its control through a controlled-growth scenario. Chapter 5 includes an analysis of sprawl in 15 economic areas. Part II, The Impact of Sprawl on Resources, in Chapters 6 through 10, presents the results of five different models: land conversion, water and sewer infrastructure, local road infrastructure, local public-service costs, and real estate development costs. In each case, model results are presented and compared by region, by state, by county, and by economic area for projected sprawl development and for the controlled-growth scenario for the United States as a whole. The findings include resource consumption and the associated financial implications. Part III, The Personal Costs of Sprawl, in Chapters 11, 12, and 13, examines the personal costs of sprawl, including its impact on individual travel costs (for both privately operated vehicles and transit), quality of life, and the livability of cities. Each chapter presents the results of different modeling analyses. Chapters 11 and 12 include comparisons between the controlled- and noncontrolled-growth scenarios. Chapter 13 seeks out empirical evidence regarding possible relationships between urban sprawl and urban decline. Part IV, Dealing with Sprawl, deals with sprawl in the last three chapters. Chapter 14 examines 13 benefits of sprawl, which are grouped into four categories: housing, transportation, land planning, and quality-of-life and social benefits. Chapter 15 is directed to policymakers and those interested in taking remedial action against the negative effects of sprawl. Various tactics and strategies for reducing the negative effects of sprawl are presented and evaluated. Chapter 16 identifies more than 40 topics for future research on sprawl and its impacts. Also included in this report are seven technical appendixes, a glossary, a bibliography, an index, and a list of acronyms and abbreviations.


Permission to link to report given by TRB.