EPA Urban Transportation Design Study in Governing Magazine

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A study compared how well old-city street layouts handled traffic versus modern approaches. The results set off a firestorm.

From Governing Magazine

When I drive my neighborhood streets of Brooklyn, which were laid out more than a century ago in a grid style, it’s obvious: These city streets do a better job of handling local traffic than the more modern set up of cul-de-sacs, collector streets and arterials. That’s because, when I’m heading somewhere, I can choose from five or six local streets as opposed to one or two suburban style “arterials.”

Many of us didn’t need a study to conclude the merits of the grid, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth office thought otherwise and commissioned one. The 2004 report, “Characteristics and Performance of Regional Transportation Systems,” examines transportation data from a handful of older cities, such as Philadelphia, New Orleans and Pittsburgh, and compared them with newer cities such as Atlanta, Houston and Tampa. The idea was to see which approach — the old or the new — performed better.

The answer? In the older cities, people drive less and use transit more; they experience fewer traffic delays, die less often in traffic accidents and emit less pollution.

Full Story: http://www.governing.com/articles/8trans.htm


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