If you’re working to reduce your carbon footprint and live in a rural or suburban area, perhaps you should consider moving to the city. It could reduce your transportation carbon emissions by 70 percent, according to data recently added to Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology's Housing and Transportation Affordability Index.
"Cities are more location-efficient – meaning key destinations are closer to where people live and work,” said Scott Bernstein, CNT’s president. “They require less time, money, fuel and greenhouse gas emissions for residents to meet their everyday travel needs ... so residents of cities and compact communities generate less CO2 per household than people who live in more dispersed communities, like many suburbs."
The CNT has created maps of 55 U.S. metropolitan areas including Chicago, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta, showing the amount of CO2 emitted per household from transportation. Households in urban centers generate roughly 0 to 5.1 metric tons, while rural households generate 8.6 metric tons and up.
The main reason for this is the availability of public transit as well as the walkability and bike-friendliness of neighborhoods. Living in the city, you’re far less likely to get into a car every time you need to run to the store for some milk or take your kids to the park. In rural areas, residents often have no choice.
Of course, your overall carbon footprint is made up of a lot more than just transportation. Other things that can play into the amount of carbon emissions your lifestyle emits including housing and your eating and shopping habits. You can calculate your carbon footprint with the easy-to-use calculator at CarbonFootprint.com.