A Liveable Region Coalition Initiative
What are the links to land use?
Transportation Impacts on Growth
Popular myth to the contrary,
expansion will encourage more growth in the suburbs of the
That highway expansion will encourage
suburban growth has been confirmed by the Real Estate Investment Network.
Its recent report argues that land values in the
Transportation Impacts on Land Use
This suburban growth will not be concentrated in town centres as the Livable Region Strategic Plan calls for. Freeway expansion will encourage automobile dependent, sprawling development. This occurs since freeway expansion reduces the costs of automobile transportation compared to other modes, such as transit, walking and cycling. This encourages more people to drive.
Ease of access across large areas
also makes low density, single use
development more viable from an economic standpoint. With lower
transportation costs, it makes economic sense to allow the segregation of housing from other land-uses including
schools, business, industrial parks, recreational areas, and shopping
malls. By encouraging driving, municipalities will have no fiscal
incentive to create higher-density, complete communities that encourage
walking, cycling and transit, as envisioned in the regional town centres. Given that low-density sprawl is the
dominant pattern of growth in the
Transportation Impacts on Land Use- The ALR
As highway expansion pushes land values in
Land Use Implications and the Economy
Highway expansion does not increase economic activity on the regional level. Studies have shown that highway expansion simply diverts economic activity from existing urban areas to outlying areas. While the affected suburbs may receive a benefit from highway expansion, this is usually to the detriment of economic activity elsewhere in the region, primarily the downtown core or regional town centres. With highway expansion, we can expect to see a shift in economic activity to the suburbs and away from the vibrant downtown core and regional town centres, undermining the progress our region has made in downtown revitalization and town centre development.
Through encouraging sprawl, highway expansion will entail other costs to the economy, many of which are difficult to quantify. One of these costs will be air pollution. Through encouraging more automobile-dependent sprawl, it is all but certain that air pollution is going to increase in the long-term. Air pollution entails significant health-care and lost-productivity costs, and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Sprawl is also going to have negative impacts on health, given that low density development discourages routine physical activity and results in poor health-care outcomes. Sprawl also makes transit inefficient, and will increase the rate by which it is subsidized. There are also long-term costs associated with the inefficient use of land, underutilized infrastructure, and potential redundancy as energy costs increase. All of these costs will have deleterious but difficult to quantify effects on our economy.
William Alonso, Location and Land Use (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964).
Don Campbell and Russell Westcott, The
Gateway Effect: The impact of transportation improvements on housing values in
the Lower Mainland and
Globe and Mail, June 2, 2006.
David Gillen, “Public Capital, Productivity, and the
Linkages to the Economy: Transportation Infrastructure,” Building the Future:
Issues in Public Infrastructure in