Levine’s article is refreshing in my opinion. Though his basic argument in favor of a positive relationship between land-use and transportation is unremarkable, his approach is unique. Cervero and Landis focus on proving that there is a positive relationship between land use planning and policy and transportation choice. They then go on to explain why this relationship should be utilized and strengthened. Levine instead focuses on individual choice and variation amongst the population. I found this refreshing, especially in an area of study where so many land-use and transportation planners and researchers discount the fact that there are people who do not want to change their mode of transportation. Instead of honing in on this stubbornness as a negative, Levine suggests that efforts be made to assist those who do wish to alter their way of living and traveling.
Reading articles in favor utilizing land-use planning to change transportation choice (and vice versa) is often disheartening to me; I know the reality is that no amount of land use planning or active transportation options can change all minds. Cervero and Landis, while making excellent points about the land use/transportation correlation, seem to ignore the fact that there will always be those that don’t want to change. Levine focuses on the enhancement of choice for residents and commuters, and openly admits that trying to change the living and driving habits of an unwilling individual or family is probably futile. Rather than wasting time on this, he proposes that efforts be made to relax zoning in order to expand choice and access for those that do want change. The lack of pretentiousness in his ideas reminds me that planners can utilize the positive relationship between land use and transportation without trying to force it down citizens’ throats.
Thanks to Daniel Hynes for editing this.
Levine, Jonathan, ―Access to Choice,‖ Access, Spring 1999, pp. 16, 18-19 http://www.uctc.net/access/access14.pdf
Cervero, Robert and John Landis, ―The Transportation-Land Use Connection Still Matters‖ Access, Fall 1995, No. 7, pp. 2-10.