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The Impact of Residential Density on Vehicle Usage and Fuel Consumption: Evidence from National Samples

  • Kim, Jinwon
  • Brownstone, David

This paper investigates the impact of residential density on household vehicle usage and fuel consumption. We estimate a simultaneous equations system to account for the potential residential self-selection problem. While most previous studies focus on a specific region, this paper uses national samples from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey. The estimation results indicate that residential density has a statistically significant but economically modest influence on vehicle usage, which is similar to that in previous studies. However, the joint effect of the contextual density measure (density in the context of its surrounding area) and residential density on vehicle usage is quantitatively larger than the sole effect of residential density. Moving a household from a suburban to an urban area reduces household annual mileage by 18%. We also find that a lower neighborhood residential density induces consumer choices toward less fuel-efficient vehicles, which confirms the finding in Brownstone and Golob (2009).

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/47785/1/MPRA_paper_47785.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 47785.

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Date of creation: 17 Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47785
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  1. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  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. Bhat, Chandra R. & Guo, Jessica Y., 2007. "A comprehensive analysis of built environment characteristics on household residential choice and auto ownership levels," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 506-526, June.
  4. Brownstone, David & Golob, Thomas F., 2009. "The impact of residential density on vehicle usage and energy consumption," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 91-98, January.
  5. Boarnet, Marlon & Crane, Randall, 2001. "The influence of land use on travel behavior: specification and estimation strategies," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 823-845, November.
  6. Salon, Deborah, 2009. "Neighborhoods, cars, and commuting in New York City: A discrete choice approach," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 180-196, February.
  7. Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "The environmental impact of suburbanization," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 569-586.
  8. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  9. 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.
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