Sustainable Transportation

Transportation is now the largest end-use of energy in developed countries and quickly growing among developing nations. 

Congestion creates a major toll in the productivity of cities and a functioning public transportation network can help improve quality of life, increase economic activity and benefit the environment.  

There is a need to facilitate a policy dialogue to brainstorm other solutions to the current transportation crisis in cities, and empirically estimate the effectiveness of alternative policy options for reducing congestion, local air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

Air pollution is one of the top concerns of individuals with respect to their health. There is an urgent need for research that better helps us understand the reasons why air pollution impacts are different across the population and that help us pursue strategies that reduce population exposure and vulnerability to air pollution.

To learn more about the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities click here.

Sample Papers

From Farms to Fuel Tanks: Stakeholder Framing Contests and Entrepreneurship in the Emergent U.S. Biodiesel Market

By Shon R. Hiatt, W. Chad Carlos

Wiley Strategic Management Journal


Although scholarship has demonstrated that market categories offer important signals to entrepreneurs about which goods and services are valued, little research has considered how entrepreneurs make sense of and exploit opportunities when contestation over category meaning persists. Using the emergent U.S. biodiesel market as a context, we present a framework to explain how the salience of different stakeholder frames shapes entrepreneurs’ perceptions of market opportunities and influences their market-entry strategies. By showing how framing contests affect entrepreneurial outcomes, this study illuminates the underlying cognitive mechanisms that impact market meaning and offers important implications for the literatures on entrepreneurship, market-category evolution, framing contests, and grand challenges.

The Market Impact and the Cost of Environmental Policy: Evidence from the Swedish Green Car Rebate

By Cristian Huse, Claudio Lucinda

The Economic Journal


We quantify the effects of the Swedish Green Car Rebate (GCR), a programme to reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions in the automobile industry. We find the GCR increases the market shares of ‘green cars’ and its cost to be $109/ton CO22 saved, thus five times the price of an emission permit. Since the main green cars in Sweden are flexible‐fuel vehicles (FFVs), which can switch between petrol (gasoline) and ethanol, we also account for fuel choice, which increases the cost of the programme. Finally, we show that consumers would have purchased FFVs regardless of the rebate provided by the GCR.

Can compact rail transit corridors transform the automobile city? Planning for more sustainable travel in Los Angeles

By Douglas Houston, Marlon Boarnet, Gavin Ferguson, Steven Spears

Urban Studies


Directing growth towards compact rail corridors has become a key strategy for redirecting auto-oriented regions towards denser, mixed-use communities that support sustainable travel. Few have examined how travel of near-rail residents varies within corridors or whether corridor land use–travel interactions diverge from regional averages. The Los Angeles region has made substantial investments in transit-oriented development, and our survey analysis indicates that although rail corridor residents drove less and rode public transit more than the county average, households in an older subway corridor with more near-transit development had about 11 fewer daily miles driven and higher transit ridership than households along a newer light rail line, a difference likely associated with development patterns and the composition and preferences of residents. Rail transit corridors are not created equally, and transit providers and community planners should consider the social and development context of corridors in efforts to improve transit access and maximise development.

The declining role of the automobile and the re‐emergence of place in urban transportation: The past will be prologue

By Marlon Boarnet

The dominant view among transportation scholars is that transportation history flows from older to newer travel modes, with each mode being superior to and, for the most part, displacing the earlier modes. America, an early adopter of widespread automobility, was in this view a harbinger of trends that would follow elsewhere, and hence the US experience of passenger travel based almost completely on car travel was a signal of things to come. Yet this paper argues that interpreting from the US experience with the interstate highway era misses key points. The interstate system, and the planning that surrounded it, was developed during a brief period of time when transportation policy was centralized, standardized, and largely divorced from questions of local impacts and place‐based political pressures. That made the years immediately after the 1956 Interstate Highway Act unusual in the broader context of transportation planning. The US has recently witnessed a return of pre‐interstate urban transportation planning realities, and transportation in large US cities is now multi‐modal, contextualized by ties to land use and neighbourhoods, and fraught with the politics and incrementalism of the pre‐interstate era. Regional science research, grounded in the era of national highway construction, can adapt to the realities of modern urban transportation planning by focusing more on collaboration and financing in ill‐defined institutional settings, environmental externalities and non‐market impacts, and retrospective project evaluation.

Search Research Papers

Subscribe to the Center for Sustainable Solutions Newsletter

Contact Us