The Factors Influencing Transport Energy Consumption in Urban Areas: a Review

  • Rocco Papa Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,(DICEA) University of Naples Federico II
  • Carmela Gargiulo Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,(DICEA) University of Naples Federico II
  • Gennaro Angiello Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,(DICEA) University of Naples Federico II
Keywords: Transport energy consumption, Land use, Travel behavior


Transport energy consumption accounts for about one third of total energy consumption in EU. Despite significant advances in transport technology and fuel formulation, transport energy consumption has increased in most EU countries over the last three decades. This increase in consumption occurred as a result of factors such as higher car ownership, a growth in automobile use and an increase in vehicle distances traveled. As travel and land-use are a function of one another, it is often hypothesized that changing urban structure can result in changes in energy consumption. Understanding how different land use characteristics may influence travel behaviour and the corresponding energy consumption is crucial for planners and policy makers in order to develop strategic actions to shrink the environmental footprint of the urban transportation sector. The aim of this article is to review the current literature on the connections between land use, travel behavior and energy consumption. In particular, this paper seeks to identify the determinants of transport energy consumption in urban areas by reviewing evidence from empirical studies. To this aim, nine characteristics of land use are presented and their effects on both travel behaviour and energy use are discussed Our review shown that, in contrast to the focus on the effect of the built environment on travel, only few researchers have empirically investigated the linkage between the built environment and transportation energy use.

The research described in this paper has been developed within the PON04a2_E Smart Energy Master project. It represents part of a much broader research project aimed at the development of an integrated model of urban energy efficiency.


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Author Biographies

Rocco Papa, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,(DICEA) University of Naples Federico II

Full Professor of Land Use Planning at the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering of the University of Naples “Federico II”. Editor-in-Chief of the Scientific Journal TeMA - Land Use, Mobility and Environment since 2007. Director of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning DiPiST of University of Naples “Federico II”, from 1999 to 2005. Chairman of the Urban Transformation Company Bagnolifutura S.p.A from 2006 to 2010. Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Naples, from 2001 to 2006. City Councilor for Livability (appointed to Town Planning and Historical Centre) for the Naples Municipality, from 1997 to 2001. Research activity, carried out continuously since 1974, has developed according to the following four main lines: the study of the interactions between urban and mobility systems; the management and governance of metropolitan areas; the safeguard of environmental quality in highly urbanized areas; the experimentation of new protocols for urban planning tools connected with the updating of techniques, methods and models of analyses, interpretation, planning and governance of territory. As City Councilor for Livability (appointed to Town Planning and Historical Centre) for the Naples Municipality he has developed in detail the following projects: the approval and implementation of the new Master Plan of Naples; the approval and implementation of the Loacl Master Plan for the area of Bagnoli-Coroglio and the establishment of the Urban Transformation Company Bagnolifutura SpA, and the restoration and requalification of the “Real Albergo dei Poveri” and of the “SS. Trinità delle Monache”, the implementation of the Line 1 and Line 6 of the Metropolitan Railway. He is author of more than 100 publications.

Carmela Gargiulo, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,(DICEA) University of Naples Federico II

Associate professor of Urban Planning Techniques at the University of Naples Federico II. Since 1987, she has been involved in studies on the management of urban and territorial transformations. Since 2004, she has been Member of the Researcher Doctorate in Hydraulic, Transport and Territorial Systems Engineering of the University of Naples “Federico II”. She is Member of the Committee of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of Naples “Federico II”. Her research interests focus on the processes of urban requalification, on relationships between urban transformations and mobility, and on the estate exploitation produced by urban transformations. On these subjects she has co-ordinated research teams within National Project such as Progetto Finalizzato Edilizia - Sottoprogetto “Processi e procedure” (Targeted Project on Building – Subproject “Processes and procedures), from 1992 to 1994; Progetto Strategico Aree Metropolitane e Ambiente, (Strategic Project Metropolitan Areas and Environment) from 1994 to 1995; PRIN project on the “Impacts of mobility policies on urban transformability, environment and property market” from 2011 to 2013. Scientific Responsible of the Project Smart Energy Master for the energy management of territory financed by PON 04A2_00120 R&C Axis II, from 2012 to 2015. She is author of more than 90 publications.

Gennaro Angiello, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,(DICEA) University of Naples Federico II

Engineer, Ph.D. student in Civil Systems Engineering at the Federico II University of Naples. His research interests are in the field of accessibility analysis and modeling, land-use and transport interactions and sustainable mobility. He is currently involved in the research project “Smart Energy Master” and in the COST Action TU1002 “Accessibility Instruments for Planning Practice in Europe”.


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How to Cite
PapaR., GargiuloC., & AngielloG. (2014). The Factors Influencing Transport Energy Consumption in Urban Areas: a Review. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment.