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Highways and Sprawl in North Carolina David T. Hartgen Professor of Transportation Studies UNC Charlotte A Report for the John.

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Presentation on theme: "Highways and Sprawl in North Carolina David T. Hartgen Professor of Transportation Studies UNC Charlotte A Report for the John."— Presentation transcript:

1 Highways and Sprawl in North Carolina David T. Hartgen Professor of Transportation Studies UNC Charlotte A Report for the John Locke Foundation Raleigh, North Carolina September 24, 2003

2 Do Roads Cause Sprawl? Road Improvements may lead or follow growth. Growth depends on many factors, including roads. Growth and roads often occur together. In other cases, growth is occurring without road improvements

3 Goal  Locate population growth and all major road improvements,  Determine correlation between population growth, road investments, and other factors  Urban and Rural Areas, All 1551 Tracts Highways and Sprawl in North Carolina

4 100 NC Counties  Trends in Population, Employment, Commuting.  12 “Commuting Regions” 17 NC Urbanized Areas  Trends in Population Density, Traffic, Congestion NC Tracts  Road Investments, Demographics, Density.  Data from TIPs, 1990 and 2000 Census.  Statistical models of growth.  Rural and urban analysis. Method of Analysis

5 County Population Change, Growth Throughout NC 97 of 100 Counties increased Strong Growth in many Suburban, rural and urban counties Interstate access varies

6 Generally, more traffic in larger cities 28 % Growth Most traffic lower than US averages Charlotte, Gastonia, Concord have the highest traffic/lane Freeway Traffic Per Lane,

7 NC Commuting, 2000 Census 12 Regions, based on commuting in 2000 Work travel is about 25 % of all travel Cross-county work travel is 61% of work travel

8 Population Growth and Major Road Projects, Tract growth throughout NC Suburban, Urban, Rural Ave growth: 972 (21%) 312 Major Road Projects New: 111 Projects, $ 3.1 B Widenings: 201 Projects, $3.1 B 1558 Miles, $6.2 B

9 327 tracts, 69 road projects Ave growth: 1099 (27%) Fastest growth in suburban tracts Growth correlation 0.23 Key: prior density Secondary factors: Income Distance to City Center Road Effects: Urban Widening: persons, per mile (13 %) New 4-Lane Arterial: 456/mile (11 %)

10 Charlotte Region-West Growth lower and more dispersed Weak link to road projects or prior Interstates

11 Charlotte Region Population Density, Densities increasing in all distance rings Maximum densities per sq mi. Greatest increases in mile rings

12 Triangle Region 259 tracts, 41 road projects Ave growth: 1513 (36%) Fastest growth in suburban Wake and nearby Less growth in denser inner tracts Growth Model Correlation 0.22 Key: prior density Secondary: Distance to City Center

13 Road Effects on Growth Widen Freeway to 8 lanes: / mile (-28%) New Freeway: +354 / mile (8%) Densities rising throughout, including inner rings

14 Triad Region 323 tracts, 57 road projects Ave growth: 709 (17%) Growth more dispersed, fastest in suburban rings Densities rising, but less rapidly

15 Triad Region Correlation: 0.22 Key: Prior Density Secondary: Dist to Interstates Road Effects: Widened Urban Arterial: +237 / mile (6%) New Freeway Exit: / mile (136%)

16 Asheville Region 87 tracts, 21 road projects Ave growth: 792 (20%) Dispersed thru region Correlation: 0.45 Key: Prior Density Secondary: Distance to Interstate Road Effects: Urban Widening: +107/mile (2.7%) Rural Widening: + 553/mile (14%) New Freeway: + 86/mile (2.2%)

17 Wilmington Region 61 tracts, 12 road projects Ave growth: 1502 (39%) Fastest near Wilm and coast Correlation: 0.25 Key: Prior Density Secondary: Dist to City Center Densities rising in city core NO strong road effects

18 Fayetteville Region 126 tracts, 38 road projects Ave growth: 722 (15%) Dispersed, but fastest north and east of Fayetteville Military reductions Correlation: 0.11 Key: Prior Density Secondary: Distance to City Center Road Effects: Rural Widenings: +207 pop/mile (3.6%)

19 Jacksonville Region 55 Tracts, 5 Road Projects Ave Growth: 1137 ( 25 %) Fastest near Coast Military Impacts Correlation: 0.20 Key: Distance to Coast Road Effect: Widen Rural Arterial : + 193/mile

20 Greenville-Rocky Mount Region 157 tracts, 35 road projects Ave growth: 495 (11%) Very dispersed growth, some declines Correlation: 0.16 Key factors: Prior income Pct Non-white population NO Road Effects

21 Eastern North Carolina Region 27 Tracts, 11 Road Projects Ave Growth: 1499 (46%) Fastest near coast Correlation: 0.34 Key Factor: Prior Density Secondary: Distance to Coast Road Effects; Widen Rural Arterial: + 51/mile (1.5%) Widen Urban Arterial + 144/mile ( 3.2%)

22 Hickory-Morganton Region 77 Tracts, 13 Road projects Ave Growth: 726 (17%) Faster along I-40 Correlation: 0.07 Key Factor: Prior Density Secondary: Dist To Interstate NO Road Effects

23 Boone-Spruce Pine Region 22 Tracts, 4 Road Projects Ave Growth: 530 (15%) Fastest near Parkway Correlation: 0.45 Key Factor: Dist to Parkway Road Effects: Widen Rural Arterial: + 123/mile (3.3%)

24 Western NC Region 30 tracts, 6 road projects Ave growth: 694 (21%) Dispersed growth, no urban focus. Correlation: 0.11 Key: Distance to Parkway Road Effects: Rural Widening: + 78/mile (2.1%)

25 Summary Local Factors largely determine growth –Zoning and density caps –Community economy and attitude –Taxes and schools –Utilities Key is prior density: –growth goes where there is room for it –Region grows outward if it can’t grow upward –Zoning determines permissible growth, pushes growth outward Secondary factors: –Distance to City Center, Income

26 Most Growth is NOT Road-Related 50 % of growth was in tracts with NO ROAD PROJECTS Only 23 % of growth was in tracts that had Road Widenings 61 % of Tracts had NO Major Projects during the 1990s

27 Road Effects on Growth Rates 2-14 percent points, per decade, per mile. –Rural Widenings: 1.5 % (Eastern NC) to 13.9 % (Asheville) –Urban widenings: 2.7 % (Asheville) to 12.8 % (Charlotte) –New Arterial 10.9 % (Charlotte) –Widen Frwy to 8 L % (Raleigh) –New Freeway 2.2 % (Asheville) to 8.4 % (Raleigh) –New Freeway Exit 0 (11 regions) to 120 % (Triad) Maximum traffic impact: a small McDonald’s At Maximum, About 15% of Added Capacity Generally minor, compared to background growth and other effects

28 Policy Implications Determinants of growth are largely local. Local governments have the lead in directing growth. Prior Density is the key: Near cities, growth goes where there is room for it. –Density caps push growth outward. Road improvements have minor effects on growth –Generally 2-14% percent points per decade –At maximum: a small fast-food restaurant. Transportation Improvements are generally blunt, inefficient means of spurring or slowing growth –Make such actions to improve mobility or access, not to influence growth. –Select projects on the basis of impact on traffic.


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