"The variations in private transport fuel use across 84 cities shows that there is a very large difference in how cities use cars and petroleum fuels. Through a number of studies it has been shown that these variations have little to do with climate, culture or politics, and even income is very poorly correlated, but they have a lot to do with the physical planning decisions that are made in those cities. There is debate about the relative importance of urban planning parameters though within the profession there is increasing awareness that sustainable transport will only happen if there is an emphasis on urban form and density; infrastructure priorities especially the relative commitment to public transport compared to cars; and, street planning especially the provision for pedestrians and cyclists as part of sustainable mobility management."
Really, the way we live was descided by someone or by many someones responding to the best information they had. What we need to do is provide better analysis of the problems and draw much better scenarios for the future. If we can focus on the many small things which take part in our daily lives, such as walking to the local store, we can create a much improved urbanity.
"Sustainable mobility management is about “streets not roads”, whereby the streets are used for a multiplicity of purposes, not just maximising vehicle flow."
"If cities build freeways then car dependence quickly follows. This is because the extra speed of freeways means that the city can quickly spread outwards into lower density land uses as the freeway rapidly becomes the preferred option. If on the other hand a city does not build freeways but prefers to emphasise transit it can enable its streets to become an important part of the sustainable transport system. Streets can be designed to favour pedestrians and cyclists and wherever this is done, cities invariably become surprised at how much more attractive and business-friendly it becomes – see the many projects and publications from Jan Gehl."