February 2, 2024

Deborah Salon, Associate professor and senior global futures scientist, Arizona State University


Car-Free Living in Car-Dependent America?


1:40pm - 3:00pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


The United States is famously car dependent, with only a small fraction of U.S. households living car free. All of these cars provide high levels of mobility and access, but at what cost? Cars pollute our air and contribute to climate change, kill and injure those involved in crashes, take up a lot of valuable space in our cities, and, some argue, weaken community ties. In addition, the lack of infrastructure for non-car transport options contributes to transportation equity gaps. In Tempe, Arizona, a developer called Culdesac is building a car-free community for about 1,000 brave souls to live without a single personal car on site or nearby. Inspired by the Culdesac initiative, our research team has been working to estimate and understand the demand for car-free living in America. We’ve conducted surveys, focus groups, and interviews, both with people directly related to the Culdesac Tempe development and nationally. The work is ongoing, and this talk will report our key findings thus far. In short, demand for car-free living in America is surprisingly strong, those who want to live car-free are an impressively diverse bunch, and, encouragingly, having experience living car-free is a strong predictor of wanting to live car-free in the future.

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