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ENERGY


Transportation: Access Trumps Mobility


BUILDINGS ? INFORMATION TRANSPORTATION T


WO VERY LARGE demographic cohorts—retiring Baby Boomers (those between 47 to 67 years old) and coming-of-age “Echo


Boomers” (a.k.a. Generation Y, ages 18 to 34)—are expressing preferences for the compact, diverse opportunities available in denser urban environments. In 2011, for example, Gen Y-ers bought


30 percent fewer cars than were sold to this cohort 4 years ago, and adults in the 35-44 age range curbed their car-buying by 25 percent, while losing a large number of licensed drivers. This indicates that many younger people are eschewing the physical access from remote locations that cars gave earlier generations in favor of the access provided by virtual mobility. Public transit, car-sharing, bicycling and walking are just a few of the preferred op-


FEET ON THE STREET


The U.S. Conference of Mayors anticipates that over 90 percent of the growth in U.S. employment and population will occur in cities. Based on a 2007 Brookings Institution assessment of the Washington, DC area, on average, walkable urban places (a.k.a. WalkUPs) are 15 times denser than drivable suburban areas—with comparable real estate premiums for the returns on equivalent amounts of land. Though they comprise less than 10 percent of the


metropolitan area in Washington DC, since 2009 WalkUPs account for 48 percent of all of income-generating property (offi ce, retail, apartment, hotel) in the region, up from 34 percent in the period 2000-2008. The GWU research found that WalkUPs are signifi cantly more desirable and signifi cantly more valuable economically than drivable areas.


■■ Higher Offi ce Rents. There is a 75 percent rental


premium for offi ce space in DC WalkUPs, compared to the region’s average rents.


■■ Higher Home Prices. Housing for sale in DC WalkUPs


is 71 percent more expensive per square foot than the average of prices in the DC metro area.


■■ More New Building. Offi ce, retail, apartment and hotel


space in DC metro area WalkUPs has risen from 24 percent of new development during the 1990s to 48 percent of all development in the cycle starting in 2009.


■■ More New Rentals. WalkUPs are host to a growing


share of new rental apartment development. In the 1990s, 12 percent of new rental apartment space was built in WalkUPs, but in 2012 that fi gure reached 42 percent. The 43 regionally signifi cant WalkUPs identifi ed in the report account for about 34 percent of metro area jobs in DC. Three-quarters of the WalkUPs are connected by rail transit to the broader region.


tions for sustainable mobility, especially among younger people.


THE DRIVERS. Earlier this year, Time.com reporter Brad


Tuttle wrote about eight key infl uences on America’s driving habits, which we group here by VERGE category with commentary based on our research:


ICT ■


Telecommuting. As noted above, for


reasons of greater access and cost savings, more and more companies are embracing at least part-time telecommuting.


■ Online Shopping. Online shopping


continues to grow by double digits annu- ally, but retailers are fi nding ways to con- solidate their real estate. A 2008 Carnegie Mellon study updated last year found that


MOVING AROUND ■


Gas Prices. There is no doubt that


gas prices infl uence behavior in the short run, but as noted below, the overall cost of


online shopping had a lower environmen- tal footprint than in-store shopping, prin- cipally because of the reduced transporta- tion footprint.


■ Information Technology. Another


side of the online shopping coin, what we call “informational access,” allows people to interact socially without being physically together.


■ Home Entertainment. The electronic


gaming industry in the United States is 60 percent to 70 percent larger than the fi lm industry in terms of revenue. It is no longer necessary to leave the home for this type of entertainment.


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