Quantifying the spillover elasticities of urban built environment configurations on the adjacent traffic CO2 emissions in mainland China

Weize Song, Xiaoling Zhang, Kangxin An, Tao Yang, Heng Li, Can Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Urban built environment regulations can effectively mitigate traffic CO2 emissions. Thus, it is critical to quantify the elasticities of altering built environment configurations. To address this issue, we have built nationwide spatial autoregressive models to differentiate between localized and spillover effects across 325 Chinese cities in the years of 2005 and 2015. Our results indicate that a 1% increase in built-up areas’ size, compactness, and isolation is associated with increases of 0.35%, −0.14%, and 0.13%, respectively, in adjacent traffic CO2 emissions. The underlying reason is that the spatial configurations of built environment do not only systemically affect the probability, frequency, speed, and distance of intracity motorised travels, but also have impacts on the intercity transboundary mobility of motor vehicles. In addition, the built-up areas’ compactness effect has an antagonistic relation with the per capita GDP effect. Thus, our findings provide evidence that the built environment configuration-related measures can benefit traffic CO2 emission reductions in adjacent cities. It is therefore necessary for policymakers to make a traffic CO2 mitigation strategy at the city agglomeration level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116271
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Built environment configurations
  • Spatial autoregressive model
  • Traffic CO emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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