City Living 70% Less Carbon Intensive Than In Suburbs

CO2 per Household From Household Auto Use image

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CO2 per Household From Household Auto Use.
Image credit:CNT. Philadelphia Metro Area

Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), recently looked at emissions of carbon dioxide stemming from household vehicle travel in 55 metropolitan areas across the U.S. When measured on a per household basis, it found that the transportation-related emissions of people living in cities and compact neighborhoods can be nearly 70% less than those living in suburbs. To illustrate, I used CNT's online mapping tool to make the city/suburban comparison for my own metro area (as pictured). Read on for details from the press release on this study:-

Cities are more location-efficient — meaning key destinations are closer to where people live and work," said Scott Bernstein, CNT's President. "They require less time, money, fuel and greenhouse gas emissions for residents to meet their everyday travel needs. People can walk, bike, car-share, take public transit. So residents of cities and compact communities generate less CO2 per household than people who live in more dispersed communities, like many suburbs and outlying areas.

"If you're deciding where to live, consider moving to an urban area. You'll help fight global warming by emitting less CO2. And you're likely to drive less, so you'll spend less on transportation, saving up to $5,000 annually."

CNT's research shows that average transportation costs vary greatly depending on location, from a low of 14% of area household median income in transit-rich, compact communities, to highs of 28% or more in exurban areas where employment, retail, and other amenities are more dispersed.
An exceptional situation where non-urban households are even less carbon intensive would be off-grid living with distributed renewable power of your own or as part of a "transition town."

Additional posts on CNT research.
Green with Service Envy — The Live|Work and Streetcar Partnership ...
Center For Neighborhood Technologies Releases Cost Of Living Index ...