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The Effects of Urban Spatial Structure on Travel Demand in the United States


  • Antonio M. Bento

    (University of Maryland)

  • Maureen L. Cropper

    (University of Maryland and The World Bank)

  • Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak

    (University of Colorado, Boulder)

  • Katja Vinha

    (Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia)


We examine the effects of urban form and public transit supply on the commute mode choices and annual vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) of households living in 114 urban areas in 1990. The probability of driving to work is lower the higher are population centrality and rail miles supplied and the lower is road density. Population centrality, jobs-housing balance, city shape, and road density have a significant effect on annual household VMTs. Although individual elasticities are small absolute values (≤0.10), moving sample households from a city with the characteristics of Atlanta to a city with the characteristics of Boston reduces annual VMTs by 25%. © 2005 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio M. Bento & Maureen L. Cropper & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak & Katja Vinha, 2005. "The Effects of Urban Spatial Structure on Travel Demand in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 466-478, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:87:y:2005:i:3:p:466-478

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    References listed on IDEAS

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