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Travel choices in pedestrian versus automobile oriented neighborhoods


  • Cervero, Robert
  • Radisch, Carolyn


The New Urbanism movement calls for redesigning American neighborhoods so that they are less oriented toward automobile travel and more conducive to walking, bicycling and transit riding, especially for non-work trips. New Urbanism calls for a return to compact neighborhoods with grid-like street patterns, mixed land uses and pedestrian amenities. This paper investigates the effects of New Urbanism design principles on both non-work and commuting travel by comparing modal splits between two distinctly different neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. The neo-traditional neighborhood, Rockridge, and the nearby conventional suburban community, Lafayette, were chosen as case sites because they have similar income profiles, freeway and transit service levels, and geographical locations. Rockridge residents averaged around a 10 percentage point higher share of non-work trips by non-automobile modes than did residents of Lafayette, controlling for relevant factors like income and transit service levels. The greatest differences were for shop trips under one mile. Rockridge residents also averaged substantially higher rates of non-work walk trips per day, matched by lower rates of daily auto travel, suggesting that walking substitutes for motorized travel, at the margin. Modal splits were more similar for work trips, confirming the proposition that neighborhood design practices exert their greatest influence on local shopping trips and other non-work purposes. For work trips, compact, mixed-use, and pedestrian-oriented development appears to have the strongest effect on access trips to rail stations, in particular inducing higher shares of access trips by foot and bicycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Cervero, Robert & Radisch, Carolyn, 1996. "Travel choices in pedestrian versus automobile oriented neighborhoods," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 127-141, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:3:y:1996:i:3:p:127-141

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
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