Household Carbon Emissions from Driving

and Center City Quality of Life

+ Matthew J. Holian


In metropolitan areas with a vibrant center city, residents are more likely to spend time downtown for work, shopping and leisure. In the dense downtown, there are more opportunities to walk and to use public transit. We test whether households who live in metropolitan areas with more vibrant downtowns have a smaller transportation carbon footprint. We document that carbon emissions for a standardized household are lower in metropolitan areas featuring a higher concentration of college graduates living downtown. Over time, public transit use is rising more in cities featuring a higher downtown college graduate share.


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Associate Professor of Economics at San José State University where he focuses on transportation, industrial, public, and urban economics.

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