31st January 2011
Though suburban cul-de-sacs have long been attractive as quiet, safe places for families, their disadvantages are becoming clear. One of the biggest problems is interference with motor- and foot-traffic flow. Research by Lawrence Frank, Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Transportation at the University of British Columbia, looks at neighborhoods in King County, Washington: Residents in areas with the most interconnected streets travel 26% fewer vehicle miles than those in areas with many cul-de-sacs. Recent studies by Frank and others show that as a neighborhood’s overall walkability increases, so does the amount of walking and biking—while, per capita, air pollution and body mass index decrease.