Lifecycle Support for Sustainable City Development

Transportation planning is crucial for sustainable cities. Online data for this work abounds, yet much is inaccessible to planners. Lifecycle Support for Sustainable City Development aims to mine that data and deliver it in a format that decision makers can use.

Transportation accounts for 28% of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, mostly from cars in urban areas. Ambitious national goals aim to reduce these emissions by 2050 to 60% to 80% below 1990 levels. To do this, we must reduce the city miles we drive, by at least 40%. That requires major changes in the design of our cities, including innovative planning to shorten car trips and make walking, bicycling, and mass transit viable substitutes.

However, effective planning requires sophisticated tools and accessible data. Despite the trove of online data available on our urban environment — such as Google Earth imagery, Zillow’s property records, and real-time transportation information on sites like the Bay Area’s — existing transportation planning tools are limited. They rely on only coarse data about regional land use and demographics. Cities and regions today usually lack even basic inventories of the physical characteristics of their streets, much less a means for planning for significant changes in transportation.

This project will identify the spatial data needed for major advances in planning, and determine the best ways to find it, deliver it, and integrate it into planning tools and models. UC Berkeley’s Center for Resource Efficient Communities and Center for the Built Environment are partnering on the project with i4Energy.