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The Impact of Metropolitan Structure on Commute Behavior in the Netherlands: A Multilevel Approach


  • Tim Schwanen
  • Frans M. Dieleman
  • Martin Dijst


ABSTRACT This paper documents the investigation of the impact of metropolitan structure on the commute behavior of urban residents in the Netherlands. Not only has the impact of monocentrism versus polycentrism been analyzed, but the influence of metropolitan density and size has also been considered, together with the ratio of employment to population and the growth of the population and employment. Furthermore, data are used at a variety of levels of analysis ranging from the individual worker to the metropolitan region rather than being drawn from aggregate level statistics alone. Multilevel regression modeling is applied to take account of the interdependencies among these levels of aggregation. With regard to mode choice, the results indicate that the probability of driving an auto to work is lower in employment‐rich metropolitan regions, and rises as the number of jobs per resident has grown strongly. Furthermore, women in most polycentric regions are less likely to commute as an auto driver. All else being equal, commute distances and times for auto drivers are longer in most polycentric regions than in monocentric urban areas. In addition, commute time as an auto driver rises with metropolitan size, whereas commute distance depends on employment density and the growth of the number of jobs per resident. The investigation shows that metropolitan structure, although significantly influencing commute patterns, explains only a small part of the variation of individuals’ commute behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Schwanen & Frans M. Dieleman & Martin Dijst, 2004. "The Impact of Metropolitan Structure on Commute Behavior in the Netherlands: A Multilevel Approach," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 304-333, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:35:y:2004:i:3:p:304-333
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2257.2004.00251.x

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