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4/21/15 GGG Speaker Series presents Dr. Susan Handy “Driving Less”

Event Date: 
2015-04-21 04:10 - 05:30

2015 GEOGRAPHY GRADUATE GROUP Spring Speaker Series
*Tuesdays 4:10-5:30pm * 166 Hunt Hall*

“Driving Less: Reducing Vehicle-Miles Traveled (VMT) in the Land of Freeways”

The State of California has set an ambitious goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For the transportation sector, changes in vehicle and fuel technologies will get the state a long way towards its goal, but forecasts show that reductions in driving will also be necessary. State policy now requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to adopt a Sustainable Communities Strategy that outlines the set of strategies the regions will implement to meet their targets for reductions in vehicle-miles traveled (VMT). In the absence of conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of possible strategies, MPOs are struggling to identify the set of strategies that offer the greatest potential for success. This presentation looks at three of the many questions underlying this struggle: Will the recent downturn in VMT take care of the problem? If not, which of the possible strategies are likely to help the most? In particular, will the current bicycling craze make a difference? Although much research remains to be done, existing evidence points to the need for a multi-faceted approach to reducing VMT.

Dr. Susan Handy is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California at Davis, where she teaches in the Environmental Policy and Planning major and in the Transportation Technology and Policy Program. She is also the director of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, part of the federal university transportation centers program. Her research focuses on the relationships between transportation and land use, particularly the impact of land use on travel behavior, and on strategies for reducing automobile dependence. Her recent work includes a series of studies on bicycling in Davis, including an exploration of the formation of attitudes towards bicycling and a study of factors affecting bicycling to high school, in addition to projects for the California Air Resources Board and Caltrans on the impacts of “smart growth” strategies on vehicle travel. Dr. Handy serves on the Committee on Women’s Transportation Issues and am an associate editor of the newly launched Journal of Transport & Health (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-transport-and-health/). She received a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering from Princeton University (1984), M.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University (1987), and Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley (1992).