The report, the second edition of a popular document published in 2001, summarizes trends in land use, buildings, travel behavior, population growth, and the expansion of developed land. It then discusses the environmental consequences of these trends, such as habitat loss, degradation of water resources and air quality, urban heat islands, greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change, and other health and safety effects. Environmental impacts linked to building and development patterns include:
- At least 850,000 acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds and 50,000 miles of rivers and streams are thought to be impaired by stormwater runoff.
- Although technology has reduced per-car vehicle emissions, an approximate 250-percent increase in vehicle miles travelled since 1970 has offset potential gains.
- Transportation is responsible for 27 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions; residential and commercial buildings contribute 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively.