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AI-generated visuals of car-free US cities help improve support for sustainable policies


Americans are often reluctant to support policies that aim to meaningfully change transportation. Here we show how new techniques from artificial intelligence can be harnessed to increase public support for green policies. We use text-to-image generative AI models to create re-imagined, car-free versions of various streets in America and find that across two large-scale survey studies (N = 3,129), viewing these re-imaginations significantly increases support for a hypothetical sustainable transport bill.

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Fig. 1: Life with and without sustainable transportation.
Fig. 2: Results.

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Data availability

Anonymized participant data for all our experiments are available at

Code availability

The code to run the analyses and reproduce the figures is available on GitHub at


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We thank E. Kreiss, D. Yu, L. Globig and J. Peterson for valuable comments and feedback, and Z. Katz (Better Streets AI) for providing the prompts to generate car-free versions of American streets using Dall-E 2. Special thanks to Rethink35 team for providing valuable feedback and inputs on the images we generated using Stable Diffusion. This work was supported by funds from the NOMIS foundation.

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Authors and Affiliations



R.D. and M.D.H. developed the study concept. R.D. wrote the software, conducted experiments and analysed the data. T.L.G. and R.B. supervised the study design and data analysis. All authors discussed the results. R.D. drafted the paper, and M.D.H., T.L.G. and R.B. provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the paper for submission.

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Correspondence to Rachit Dubey.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Sustainability thanks Maria Luce Lupetti, Tamara Metze and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–3, Results for Study 1 and Results for Study 2.

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Dubey, R., Hardy, M.D., Griffiths, T.L. et al. AI-generated visuals of car-free US cities help improve support for sustainable policies. Nat Sustain 7, 399–403 (2024).

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