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Does Neighborhood Design Influence Travel?: Behavioral Analysis of Travel Diary and GIS Data

  • Crane, Randall
  • Crepeau, Richard
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    Can urban design improve the environment? If communities could be designed to reduce automobile use, then yes. But can urban design influence travel? Surprisingly perhaps, the effects of any specific neighborhood feature on travel behavior at the margin are all but unknown. The policy significance of this issue is reflected in the swelling popularity of the “new urbanism†and other planning strategies employing land use tools to mitigate the environmental impacts of metropolitan development. In addition to asserting that development patterns and densities affect how far, how often, and by what means people travel, urban designers frequently argue that the legibility and shape of the local street pattern play a key role. “Connected†residential blocks are thus associated with less driving by comparison with the circuitous routes of the modern suburban cul-de-sac — chiefly by reducing trip lengths and facilitating pedestrian and transit access. Remarkably, there is little empirical and theoretical support for these claims. This paper provides the first direct tests of these hypotheses within a consistent behavioral framework. An analysis of household travel diary and GIS data for San Diego finds little role for land use in explaining travel behavior, and no evidence that the street network pattern affects either short or long non-work travel decisions. While results may vary in other areas, the empirical argument for using land use as an element of regional air quality or other environmental plans remains to be demonstrated.

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    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/4pj4s7t8.pdf;origin=repeccitec
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    Paper provided by University of California Transportation Center in its series University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers with number qt4pj4s7t8.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jan 1998
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt4pj4s7t8
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    1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521296762 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marlon G. Boarnet & Sharon Sarmiento, 1998. "Can Land-use Policy Really Affect Travel Behaviour? A Study of the Link between Non-work Travel and Land-use Characteristics," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 35(7), pages 1155-1169, June.
    3. S Hanson & M Schwab, 1987. "Accessibility and intraurban travel," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 19(6), pages 735-748, June.
    4. Giuliano, Genevieve, 1989. "New Directions for Understanding Transportation and Land Use," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt72f0362d, University of California Transportation Center.
    5. Giuliano, Genevieve, 1991. "Is Jobs-Housing Balance a Transportation Issue?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4874r4hg, University of California Transportation Center.
    6. Crane, Randall, 1996. "The Influence of Uncertain Job Location on Urban Form and the Journey to Work," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 342-356, May.
    7. Wachs, Martin, 1993. "Learning from Los Angeles: Transport, Urban Form, and Air Quality," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt2wv0h7rq, University of California Transportation Center.
    8. 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.
    9. Ryan, S. & McNally, M. G., 1995. "Accessibility of neotraditional neighborhoods: A review of design concepts, policies, and recent literature," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 87-105, March.
    10. 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.
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