SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 13: A bicyclist rides their bike down Market Street on Bike to Work Day May 13, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Thousands of bicyclists are expected to participate in the 16th annual Bike to Work Day event that promotes exercise and helps reduce pollution. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The smart growth movement in the U.S. has focused on creating incentives to develop housing near transit, so that people drive less. A new report by the Public Policy Institute of California argues for a different approach. If the goal is to get people out of their cars, the priority should be to put people's jobs, not housing, near transit.
The PPIC report concludes:
"Having jobs near transit is more important in boosting [transit] ridership than having housing near transit. It’s not hard to see why: while workers can park their cars or bikes at transit stations close to home, they need a way to get to the workplace after getting off the train. But the number of jobs per square mile in California is lower than the national average and declining, a continuation of a decades-long trend of jobs moving out of dense downtowns."
The context here is a California law that sets goals for reducing how much Californians drive in the name of reducing greenhouse gases and making us healthier (because we'll walk more).