Ex-Urban Sprawl as a Factor in Traffic Fatalities and EMS Response Times in the Southeastern United States

By Lambert, Thomas E.; Meyer, Peter B. | Journal of Economic Issues, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Ex-Urban Sprawl as a Factor in Traffic Fatalities and EMS Response Times in the Southeastern United States


Lambert, Thomas E., Meyer, Peter B., Journal of Economic Issues


Many different writers (Atkinson and Oleson 1996; Barnett 1995; Burchell and Lisotkin 1995; Burchell et al., 1998; Carruthers and Ulfarsson 2002; Ciscel 2001; Ewing 1997; and Glaeser and Kahn 2003) have examined the direct and indirect costs of unplanned growth or sprawl. However, an area only recently examined is the impact of sprawl on traffic fatalities (Ewing, Schieber and Zegeer, 2003; Lucy 2003; and Lucy 2000). Besides a case study of the Chicago area, which found emergency medical services (EMS) delays due to sprawl (American Farmland Trust 1998), another issue not examined on a larger scale is the degree to which sprawl might be contributing to delays in EMS. In this research note, we develop models similar to the ones used by Reid Ewing, Richard Schieber and Charles Zegeer (2003), Stefan Felder and Henrik Brinkmann (2002) and Theodore Keeler (1994) in order to assess the impact that the built environment has on EMS response times and the rate of traffic fatalities in the southeastern United States.

Reid Ewing (1997) reviews 17 studies concerning sprawl and identifies four characteristics defining it: low-density, strip development, scattered development, and leapfrog development. Peter Gordon and Harry Richardson (1997), in their criticism of planners who promote "compact cities," suggest that sprawl is low density, dispersed, decentralized, polycentric (many centers), and suburban. The universal mobility of the auto has allowed job and home to be miles apart. Americans are driving more every year in large part because of the increasingly spread out nature of our metro areas (U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT), National Transportation Statistics 1999). The 2001 National Household Travel Survey reports that although Americans were making fewer trips by motor vehicle, average time per trip had gone up including the commute to work (U.S. Department of Transportation 2004). Edward Glaeser and Matthew Kahn (2003) contend that sprawl is a result of a society that has centered itself on the automobile.

As development continues outward, jobs, housing and services grow farther apart. In the past few decades, development patterns that require an automobile trip for every errand force many to drive more every year to accomplish the same things. The long journey to work or for shopping is now accepted as commonplace. Due to families having the luxury of several automobiles, many of these trips (over 81%) are one-person occupied (U.S. DOT 1999). Ewing, Schieber, and Zegeer (2003) and Keeler (1994) show that higher population density is associated with lower traffic fatalities on a per capita basis. Ewing, Schieber and Zegeer create a "sprawl index" demonstrating that more sprawled metro counties (i.e., those having low general population density, large/long block sizes, and census tracts with population densities below 2,500) have higher traffic fatality rates than their less sprawled counterparts. Also, the more sprawled an area becomes the more difficult for police, fire and EMS to reach many new households and new developments, even those along existing roadways. The alternative is to build new facilities closer to the new developments, which raises the costs of public service provision.

Methods

As a measurement of the consequences of sprawl, William Lucy (2003) constructs an index measuring the likelihood of someone becoming a traffic or homicide fatality statistic in different parts of a metro area. He finds higher traffic fatality and homicide rates in ex-urban areas than those in central cities or the inner suburbs of fifteen metro areas. (1) Similarly, Reid Ewing, Rolf Pendall, and Don Chen (2002) find that traffic fatalities are much higher in what they have ranked as the top ten most sprawling metro areas versus the ten least sprawling metro areas in the United States: fifteen average annual traffic deaths versus nine average annual traffic deaths per 100,000 residents.

For this paper, we first looked at fatal traffic crashes and then average EMS run times (from time of notification to arrival of an EMS unit) to an accident site for the year 2002 in the metro areas of eight states that make up the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ex-Urban Sprawl as a Factor in Traffic Fatalities and EMS Response Times in the Southeastern United States
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.