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Effects of built environments on vehicle miles traveled: evidence from 370 US urbanized areas

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  • Robert Cervero
  • Jin Murakami

Abstract

Concerns over rising fuel prices and greenhouse-gas emissions have prompted research into the influences of built environments on travel, notably vehicle miles traveled (VMT). On the basis of data from 370 US urbanized areas and using structural equation modeling, population densities are shown to be strongly and positively associated with VMT per capita (direct effect elasticity =-0.604); however, this effect is moderated by the traffic-inducing effects of denser urban settings having denser road networks and better local-retail accessibility (indirect effect elasticity =0.223, yielding a net effect elasticity =-0.381). Accessibility to basic employment has comparatively modest effects, as do size of urbanized area, and rail-transit supplies and usage. Nevertheless, urban planning and city design should be part of any strategic effort to shrink the environmental footprint of the urban transportation sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Cervero & Jin Murakami, 2010. "Effects of built environments on vehicle miles traveled: evidence from 370 US urbanized areas," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 42(2), pages 400-418, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:42:y:2010:i:2:p:400-418
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    Cited by:

    1. Kwoka, Gregory J. & Boschmann, E. Eric & Goetz, Andrew R., 2015. "The impact of transit station areas on the travel behaviors of workers in Denver, Colorado," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 277-287.
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    3. repec:eee:transa:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:65-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:trapol:v:63:y:2018:i:c:p:209-220 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lee, Sungwon & Lee, Bumsoo, 2014. "The influence of urban form on GHG emissions in the U.S. household sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 534-549.
    6. Pyddoke, Roger, 2016. "Modelling effects of policy instruments for sustainable urban transport in Scandinavia," Working papers in Transport Economics 2016:29, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
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    12. Louafi Bouzouina & Nathalie Havet & Pascal Pochet, 2015. "Mobilité quotidienne des actifs résidant en zones urbaines sensibles et accès à l'emploi : Une analyse économétrique à partir de l'Enquête Ménages Déplacements de Lyon," Working Papers halshs-01143900, HAL.
    13. Creutzig, Felix & McGlynn, Emily & Minx, Jan & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2011. "Climate policies for road transport revisited (I): Evaluation of the current framework," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2396-2406, May.
    14. Germà Bel & Maximilian Holst, 2015. "“Evaluation of the Impact of Bus Rapid Transit on Air Pollution”," IREA Working Papers 201519, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Sep 2015.
    15. Andrea CIRILLI & Paolo VENERI, 2010. "Spatial Structure and CO2 Emissions Due to Commuting: an Analysis on Italian Urban Areas," Working Papers 353, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    16. Hachem, Caroline, 2016. "Impact of neighborhood design on energy performance and GHG emissions," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 422-434.
    17. Etminani-Ghasrodashti, Roya & Ardeshiri, Mahyar, 2015. "Modeling travel behavior by the structural relationships between lifestyle, built environment and non-working trips," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 506-518.
    18. Jahanshahi, Kaveh & Jin, Ying & Williams, Ian, 2015. "Direct and indirect influences on employed adults’ travel in the UK: New insights from the National Travel Survey data 2002–2010," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 288-306.
    19. Kay, Andrew I. & Noland, Robert B. & Rodier, Caroline J., 2014. "Achieving reductions in greenhouse gases in the US road transportation sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 536-545.
    20. de Abreu e Silva, João & Morency, Catherine & Goulias, Konstadinos G., 2012. "Using structural equations modeling to unravel the influence of land use patterns on travel behavior of workers in Montreal," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1252-1264.
    21. repec:bla:growch:v:47:y:2016:i:4:p:612-630 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Werner, Carol M. & Brown, Barbara B. & Tribby, Calvin P. & Tharp, Doug & Flick, Kristi & Miller, Harvey J. & Smith, Ken R. & Jensen, Wyatt, 2016. "Evaluating the attractiveness of a new light rail extension: Testing simple change and displacement change hypotheses," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 15-23.
    23. Rowangould, Dana & Eldridge, Melody & Niemeier, Deb, 2013. "Incorporating regional growth into forecasts of greenhouse gas emissions from project-level residential and commercial development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1288-1300.
    24. Dillon, Harya S. & Saphores, Jean-Daniel & Boarnet, Marlon G., 2015. "The impact of urban form and gasoline prices on vehicle usage: Evidence from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 23-33.
    25. repec:eee:appene:v:202:y:2017:i:c:p:386-398 is not listed on IDEAS

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