A study commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and conducted by Abt Associates showed that higher-density communities will only modestly alter travel behavior and therefore have a similarly modest impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis was based on a review of 200 case studies on residential density and its relationship to travel behavior and climate change.
“Not everyone wants to, or can, live in a high-density community, and consumers continue to require a range of housing types and neighborhoods because of a complex set of interacting market, demographic, and other factors,” Jerry Howard, President and CEO of NAHB, said. “Before government starts dictating how Americans should live and the types of communities they can live in, we should make sure that sound research validates that as a sensible approach,” Howard said.
NAHB’s study found that while much of the vast volume of research on the impact of development on greenhouse gases shows a link between higher density communities and the number of vehicle miles traveled, it is an oversimplification that higher density equals lower greenhouse gas emissions.