Despite overall improvements in air quality in recent decades due to “cleaner” vehicle technologies, mobile-source emissions still comprise the lion’s share of pollution in California’s non-attainment areas; concurrent increases in population, vehicle ownership, and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have trumped these technological innovations.
Indeed, the statewide increase in VMT has outrun its population growth, fueled by continued sprawl. Mitigating this increase requires aggressive efforts to create thriving, compact, mixed-use communities that are pedestrian-, bike-, and transit-friendly. Raising development densities can significantly reduce yearly per-capita VMT… Such densities (usually above 7 du/acre) support a diversity of housing types within convenient distances of transit, services, stores, and jobs.
These alternative transportation-friendly communities are essential to the future of California’s air. Without them, residents will never breathe easy.