May 15, 2002

May 15, 2002 | Testimony on Smart Growth

Dangers of Smart Growth Planning

Testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works


Wendell Cox's testimony was presented before the committee with a PowerPoint presentation -- of more than 50 charts and pictures -- to show that no problem has been identified of sufficient magnitude to justify coercive smart growth strategies.

1) There is little potential for reducing traffic congestion or increasing transportation choice for all but a few through transit. There are no material successes, US or international.
2) Smart growth strategies tend to intensify the very problems they are purported to solve. New federal mandates are inadvisable.

His conclusion:
Absent a material threat to other individuals or the community, people should be allowed to live and work where and how they like.

Charts / Graphs:

US: Low Urban Population Density

Land Development Pace Greater Than Population Growth

Trend is Similar in Europe (France)

High Densities Concentrated in Cores

Most Land is Not Urban

Population Change: Landlocked Cities

Source of U.S. Suburban Growth: Areas of Central Cities with Losses

Traffic Intensities are Lower

U.S. Urban Traffic Speeds are Higher

U.S. Work Trip Time Travel is Lower

Jobs Within 30 Minutes At Estimated Peak Hour Speeds

U.S. Traffic Intensities Less Where Densities are Lower

U.S. DOT Research: Traffic Increases with Density

Situtation Little Better in Canada & Australia Despite Higher Shares

Paris: Transit Choice Limited to Urban Core

Transit Commute Times Double Auto

Transit Commuters to Non-CBD Jobs Have Much Lower Income

Transit to Work Market Share Small except to CBD

Most Employment is Dispersed, Example of Atlanta


Most Employment is Outside CBD

Ridership Oriented to Urban Core

CBD Share of Metropolitan Employment

Highest Market Shares to Downtown Areas (CBD)

Highest Market Shares to Downtown Areas (CBD)

U.S. Public Transit Market

Highest U.S. Transit Market Shares

U.S. Transit Market Shares are Low

Higher Minority Home Ownership Rates Associated with Greater Sprawl: Tufts Univ.

Minority Home OwnershipGap has been Narrowing

Average Impact Fees: California

Housing Affordability: 1991-2001

Driving Up: Air Pollution Down

Air Pollution & Vehicle Speed

Home Ownership Higher Where Densities are Lower

Consumer Expenditures Lower Where Densities Are Lower

Population Densities by Urbanized Area Quintiles

U.S. Commutes Longer Where Densities are Higher

About the Author

Wendell Cox Visiting Fellow
Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies