Uniform TitleTransport policies, travel behavior, and sustainability: a comparison of Germany and the U.S.
NameBuehler, Ralph (author), Pucher, John (chair), Jagannathan, Radha (internal member), Greenberg, Michael (internal member), Seneca, Joseph (internal member), Kunert, Uwe (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectPlanning and Public Policy,
Choice of transportation,
DescriptionThis dissertation investigates the influence of transport policies on individual travel behavior in Germany and the U.S. In spite of increasing automobile use in both countries, Germany has been more successful than the U.S. in maintaining a more balanced, sustainable transport system. In 2002, Americans drove 125 percent more kilometers per capita than Germans. Walking, cycling, and public transport accounted for only 14 percent of all trips in the U.S., compared to 40 percent in Germany. Excessive reliance on the car is responsible for unsustainable trends such as environmental pollution, oil dependence, obesity, traffic congestion, and road fatalities. In 2005, urban transport energy use and CO2 emissions per capita were three times higher in the U.S. than in Germany.
This analysis contains two parts capturing the interdependencies of transportation policies and individual travel decisions. A descriptive and qualitative examination of differences in travel trends and transport policies over time sets the frameworks within which individuals make daily travel choices in each country. A multivariate analysis based on two comparable national travel surveys then explores the intricacies of these choices.
The analysis shows that policies and institutions in the U.S. contribute to making car use cheaper, easier, and more common than in Germany. In 2005, for example, revenues from roadway user taxes and fees in Germany were 2.6 times larger than roadway expenditures by all levels of government, compared to net subsidies for roadways in the U.S. Unlike the majority of American cities, most German municipalities promote non-automobile travel and impose restrictions on driving, thus making car travel slower and less attractive. In 2002, average car travel speeds in the U.S. were 33 percent faster than in Germany. Multivariate analyses showed that transportation policies accounted for up to 25 percent of the variability explained in travel behavior.
Several policy recommendations follow from this research. First, higher population density, a greater mix of land uses, access to public transportation, and higher gasoline prices reduce car travel. Second, higher car-ownership rates and faster average car travel speeds increase car use. Lastly, the combination of car-restrictive policies with measures that increase the attractiveness of non-automobile modes has been key to more limited car use in Germany.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 479-498).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.