Reducing Car Dependence Has Economic, Environmental, and Social Benefits

Californians live in a car-dominant society. Decades of transportation and land use planning practices have created communities in which driving is a virtual necessity to access most destinations. Personal vehicles provide mobility benefits, but they also have many negative financial, public health, environmental, and social impacts. Technological innovations such as vehicle electrification can lessen some, but not all, of these impacts. A more comprehensive approach is to shape communities in a manner that gives people viable options other than a personal vehicle—such as walking, bicycling, or transit—to get where they need to go.

Researchers at UC Davis reviewed published studies to summarize the range of household- and community-level benefits that can be realized by reducing car dependence in California. This policy brief summarizes the findings of that work.