Grengs discussed what it will take to achieve carbon-neutrality in 10 years at an Ann Arbor city forum.
Joe Grengs, University of Michigan associate professor of urban and regional planning, joined city officials in discussing possibilities strategies.
While the city doesn't have the ability to impose low-carbon fuel standards for automakers, he said, the city can help develop a support network for electric cars and set parking rates that create a disincentive to drive.
"We tend to make choices based on our pocketbooks," he said. "When parking is plentiful and cheap, when gas is cheap, and we've already invested $15,000-$25,000 in a car that's sitting out on the driveway, you don't have much of an incentive to leave it at home and take a bus or to bike, but we can change that incentive structure through pricing."
He suggested higher parking fees, gasoline taxes and pay-as-you-drive insurance policies could help reduce driving, as well as programs through which employers give employees money for bus fares instead of paying for parking.
Parking rate changes need to be coupled with land-use changes and improved pedestrian and cycling facilities and transit systems to better connect people to jobs and other destinations, Grengs said.
"It takes big changes in order to see behavior changes, because sadly we've built our metropolitan areas in the United States primarily to accommodate the car," he said.