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Density and the Journey to Work

Author

Listed:
  • David Levinson

    () (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)

  • Ajay Kumar

Abstract

This paper evaluates the influence of residential density on commuting behavior across U.S. cities while controlling for available opportunities, the technology of transportation infrastructure, and individual socio-economic and demographic characteristics. The measures of metropolitan and local density are addressed separately. We suggest that metropolitan residential density serves principally as a surrogate for city size. We argue that markets react to high interaction costs found in large cities by raising density rather than density being a cause of those high costs. Local residential density measures relative location (accessibility) within the metropolitan region as well as indexing the level of congestion. We conduct regressions to predict commuting time, speed, and distance by mode of travel on a cross-section of individuals nationally and city by city. The results indicate that residential density in the area around the tripmaker's home is an important factor: the higher the density the lower the speed and the shorter the distance. However, density's effect on travel time is ambiguous, speed and distance are off-setting effects on time. The paper suggests a threshold density at which the decrease in distance is overtaken by the congestion effects, resulting in a residential density between 7,500 and 10,000 persons per square mile (neither the highest nor lowest) with the shortest duration auto commutes.

Suggested Citation

  • David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1997. "Density and the Journey to Work," Working Papers 199701, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:density
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/179855
    File Function: First version, 2007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Feng, Jianxi & Dijst, Martin & Wissink, Bart & Prillwitz, Jan, 2017. "Changing travel behaviour in urban China: Evidence from Nanjing 2008–2011," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-10.
    2. Bento, Antonio M. & Cropper, Maureen L. & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq & Vinha, Katja, 2003. "The impact of urban spatial structure on travel demand in the United States," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3007, The World Bank.
    3. Rafael Henrique Moraes Pereira & Vanessa Nadalin & Leonardo Monasterio & Pedro Henrique Melo Albuquerque, 2012. "Quantifying Urban Centrality: A Simple Index Proposal and International Comparison," Discussion Papers 1675a, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    4. Banister, David, 2012. "Viewpoint: Assessing the reality—Transport and land use planning to achieve sustainability," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 5(3), pages 1-14.
    5. Van Acker, Veronique & Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Witlox, Frank, 2014. "Car availability explained by the structural relationships between lifestyles, residential location, and underlying residential and travel attitudes," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 88-99.
    6. repec:eee:transa:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:65-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Safirova, Elena A. & Houde, Sébastien & Harrington, Winston, 2007. "Spatial Development and Energy Consumption," Discussion Papers dp-07-51, Resources For the Future.
    8. Kim, Jinwon, 2012. "Endogenous vehicle-type choices in a monocentric city," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 749-760.
    9. Felipe Livert Aquino & Xabier Gainza, 2014. "Understanding Density in an Uneven City, Santiago de Chile: Implications for Social and Environmental Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 1-22, September.
    10. Rafael Henrique Moraes Pereira & Tim Schwanen, 2013. "Commute Time in Brazil (1992-2009): Differences Between Metropolitan Areas, by Income Levels and Gender," Discussion Papers 1813a, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    11. Levinson, David & Zhang, Lei, 2006. "Ramp meters on trial: Evidence from the Twin Cities metering holiday," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 810-828, December.
    12. Krygsman, Stephan & Dijst, Martin & Arentze, Theo, 2004. "Multimodal public transport: an analysis of travel time elements and the interconnectivity ratio," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 265-275, July.
    13. Tae-Hyoung Gim, 2012. "A meta-analysis of the relationship between density and travel behavior," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 491-519, May.
    14. Ivan Muñiz & Miguel-Àngel García-López, 2012. "Chaos and order in the contemporary city. The impact of urban spatial structure on population density and commuting distance in Barcelona, 1986-2001," Working Papers wpdea1207, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    15. Schwanen, Tim & Dieleman, Frans M. & Dijst, Martin, 2002. "The impact of metropolitan structure on commute behavior in the Netherlands: a multilevel approach," ERSA conference papers ersa02p069, European Regional Science Association.
    16. Martin P. Brosnan & David Levinson, 2014. "Accessibility and the Allocation of Time: Changes in Travel Behavior 1990-2010," Working Papers 000120, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    17. Houshmand E. MASOUMI, 2014. "Urban Sprawl In Mid-Sized Cities Of Mena, Evidence From Yazd And Kashan In Central Iran," Management Research and Practice, Research Centre in Public Administration and Public Services, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 6(2), pages 25-41, June.
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    20. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2017:i:1:p:19-:d:123917 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Chatman, Daniel G., 2008. "Deconstructing development density: Quality, quantity and price effects on household non-work travel," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1008-1030, August.
    22. Pouyanne, Guillaume, 2010. "Urban form and daily mobility. Methodological aspects and empirical study in the case of Bordeaux," European Transport \ Trasporti Europei, ISTIEE, Institute for the Study of Transport within the European Economic Integration, issue 44, pages 76-95.
    23. André MEUNIE (GREThA) & Guillaume POUYANNE (GREThA), 2007. "Is there an Environmental Urban Kuznets Curve? The case of polluting emissions due to daily mobility in 37 cities. (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2007-04, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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