The Impact of Center City Economic and Cultural Vibrancy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation

You are here

The Impact of Center City Economic and Cultural Vibrancy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation


Urban planners and scholars have focused a great deal of attention on understanding the relationship between the built environment and transportation behavior. However, other aspects of the urban environment – including the vibrancy and quality of life in urban areas – have received little attention. This report seeks to close this gap by analyzing the effects of both land-use and urban vibrancy on transportation patterns. Analysis of data from a variety of sources suggests that in addition to the built-environment, the vibrancy of the urban environment also affects transportation behavior. Moreover, vibrancy affects land-use patterns. By integrating objective measures of center-city quality of life into transportation choice models, our new statistical results inform public policy. We discuss specific public policy options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing public transit use.



Matthew J. Holian is an Assistant Professor at San Jose State University in the Economics Department and a research associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute. He completed his PhD in Economics in 2008 at the Ohio State University. His scholarly publications have appeared in journals such as Journal of Housing Economics and Public Choice. His research focuses on industrial, public, transportation and urban economics.


Matthew E. Kahn is a Professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Public Policy. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Mineta Transportation Institute. Before joining the UCLA faculty in January 2007, he taught at Columbia and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He has served as a Visiting Professor at Harvard and Stanford. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. He is the author of Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment (Brookings Institution Press, 2006) and the co-author of Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War (Princeton University Press, 2009). In September 2010, Basic Books published his book titled Climatopolis. His research focuses on environmental, urban, real estate, and energy economics.

March 2012
Urban transportation
Exhaust gases
Land use planning
Public transit



Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: