Americans could earn a “Green Dividend” of $31 billion a year by driving just one mile per day less than they do now. Less driving means more money in the hands of local consumers; unlike spending on automobiles and fuel — most of which leave the local community immediately—alternative spending can have a much bigger local economic impact.
Nationally, a combination of market forces are pushing for the realization of the Green Dividend™. A decade of high and volatile gas prices are prompting consumers to re-think a wide variety of choices, everything from transportation and housing to where to shop and look for jobs. At the same time, urban living has acquired a new cachet, particularly among younger adults, while new technology, like the increasingly ubiquitous smartphone, is also fueling low car lifestyles.
Cities are the key to realizing this Green Dividend. The combination of many destinations close at hand coupled with a variety of modes of transportation— walking, cycling and transit—means that city residents can work, shop, and play while taking fewer car trips and driving fewer miles.
Realizing the Green Dividend comes with an added bonus. As we design and build places where people drive less, traffic congestion decreases. Already, we have seen a decline in driving associated with the increase in gas prices over the past several years; this has produced an unprecedented decline in time lost to traffic congestion in the nation’s large metropolitan areas—a fact documented by our increasingly sophisticated technology for real time traffic monitoring. Pursuing the Green Dividend™ further will help cities improve their local economies, and will pay the added dividend of reducing traffic congestion.
This Green Dividend™ Report explores the growing market demand for urban living and for the kinds of cities and neighborhoods that enable households to utilize alternative modes of transportation—walking, cycling and transit—and to earn the Green Dividend.
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