Review of International Modeling Literature: Transit, Land Use, and Automobile Pricing Strategies to Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled and Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Caroline Rodier

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - surveys, planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, land use - planning, policy - environment, economics - pricing, literature review - literature review


Vehicle miles of travel, Vehicle exhaust, Strategies, Strategic planning, Regulatory policy, Priorities, Policy, Policies, Objectives, Literature surveys, Literature reviews, Land use planning, Greenhouse gases, Government policy, Goals, Global warming, Exhaust gases, Exhaust emissions, Environmental impacts, Environmental effects, Climatic changes, Climate change, California, Automobile exhaust


As the media document evidence of global climate change and the debate over humans’ role in precipitating this change ended, California led the nation by passing the first global warming legislation in the United States. California is tasked with reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The California Air Resources Board estimates that significant GHG reductions from passenger vehicles can be achieved through improvements in vehicle technology and the low carbon fuel standard; however, these reductions will not be enough to achieve 1990 levels if current trends in vehicle km traveled (VKT) continue. Currently, most operational regional models in California have limited ability to represent the effects of transit, land use, and auto pricing strategies; efforts are now under way to develop more advanced modeling tools, including activity-based travel and land use models. In the interim, this paper reviews the international modeling literature on land use, transit, and auto pricing policies to suggest a range of VKT and GHG reduction that regions might achieve if such policies were implemented. The synthesis of the literature categorizes studies by geographic area, policy strength, and model type to provide insight into the order of magnitude estimates for 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-year time horizons. The analysis also highlights the effects of modeling tools of differing quality, policy implementation time frames, and variations in urban form on the relative effectiveness of policy scenarios.