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The impact of residential neighborhood type on travel behavior: A structural equations modeling approach


  • Patricia L. Mokhtarian

    () (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA)

  • Michael N. Bagley

    () (South Texas Community College, P.O. Box 9701, McAllen, TX 78502-9701, USA)


Using a system of structural equations, this paper empirically examines the relationship of residential neighborhood type to travel behavior, incorporating attitudinal, lifestyle, and demographic variables. Data on these variables were collected from residents of five neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1993 (final N=515), including "traditional" and "suburban" as well as mixtures of those two extremes. A conceptual model of the interrelationships among the key variables of interest was operationalized with a nine-equation structural model system. The nine endogenous variables included two measures of residential location type, three measures of travel demand, three attitudinal measures, and one measure of job location. In terms of both direct and total effects, attitudinal and lifestyle variables had the greatest impact on travel demand among all the explanatory variables. By contrast, residential location type had little impact on travel behavior. This is perhaps the strongest evidence to date supporting the speculation that the association commonly observed between land use configuration and travel patterns is not one of direct causality, but due primarily to correlations of each of those variables with others. In particular, the results suggest that when attitudinal, lifestyle, and sociodemographic variables are accounted for, neighborhood type has little influence on travel behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia L. Mokhtarian & Michael N. Bagley, 2002. "The impact of residential neighborhood type on travel behavior: A structural equations modeling approach," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 36(2), pages 279-297.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:36:y:2002:i:2:p:279-297
    Note: Received: March 2001/Accepted: October 2001

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    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns


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