Road transport accounts for 15% of global carbon emissions. How do we reduce that number? Smart city planning is just as important as cleaner cars. Suburban sprawl, for example, leads to long commutes. These release a lot of carbon and make those who endure them unhappy and unhealthy in the process.
In London, transport emissions per person are 3 to 4 times higher for those living in suburban areas than for those who live closer to the city center. When people live closer to their jobs, supermarkets, and doctors, they walk rather than use their car. And they’re more likely to not even own a car.
Sprawl is the result of our current urban planning systems. In many countries, the US and the UK among them, rigid zoning rules make it very difficult to build smarter, denser cities.
Rules can be changed, though, if enough people care. Local movements have fought successfully for an overhaul of zoning laws to create more accessible, lower carbon cities.