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Mixed land-uses and commuting: Evidence from the American Housing Survey


  • Cervero, Robert


Past research suggests that mixed land-uses encourage non-auto commuting; however, the evidence remains sketchy. This paper explores this question by investigating how the presence of retail activities in neighborhoods influences the commuting choices of residents using data from the 1985 American Housing Survey. Having grocery stores and other consumer services within 300 feet of one's residence is found to encourage commuting by mass transit, walking and bicycling, controlling for such factors as residential densities and vehicle ownership levels. When retail shops are beyond 300 feet yet within 1 mile of residences, however, they tend to encourage auto-commuting, ostensibly because of the ability to efficiently link work and shop trips by car. The presence of nearby commercial land-uses is also associated with relatively low vehicle ownership rates and short commuting distances among residents of a mixed-use neighborhood. Overall, residential densities exerted a stronger influence on commuting mode choices than levels of land-use mixture, except for walking and bicycle commutes. For non-motorized commuting, the presence or absence of neighborhood shops is a better predictor of mode choice than residential densities.

Suggested Citation

  • Cervero, Robert, 1996. "Mixed land-uses and commuting: Evidence from the American Housing Survey," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 361-377, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:30:y:1996:i:5:p:361-377

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cervero, Robert & Menotti, Val, 1994. "Market Profiles of Rail-Based Housing Projects in California," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt89k664kz, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Cervero, Robert, 1988. "Land-Use Mixing and Suburban Mobility," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt9w56k7x8, University of California Transportation Center.
    3. Handy, Susan L., 1992. "Regional Versus Local Accessibility: Neo-Traditional Development and Its Implications for Non-work Travel," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt7gs0p1nc, University of California Transportation Center.
    4. Cervero, Robert, 1994. "Transit-based housing in California: evidence on ridership impacts," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 174-183, June.
    5. Richard Voith, 1991. "Transportation, Sorting and House Values," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(2), pages 117-137.
    6. Cervero, Robert, 1991. "Land Uses and Travel at Suburban Activity Centers," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0d08h1bz, University of California Transportation Center.
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