The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

New Study shows transit-oriented developments motivate residents to walk and take transit more while driving less

New Study shows transit-oriented developments motivate residents to walk and take transit more while driving less

Doctoral student Keun Park, professor Reid Ewing, professor Brenda Scheer, doctoral grad and now assistant professor Guang Tian, just published The impacts of built environment characteristics of rail station areas on household travel behavior in the journal Cities.

Highlights

  • Transit-oriented developments (TOD) motivates residents to walk more and take transit more while driving less.
  • Vehicle use is associated with land-use diversity and street network design of a station area.
  • Transit use is strongly related to transit availability and land-use diversity.
  • Walking is related to transit availability, land-use diversity, and street network design.
  • This study has strengths on large sample size and disaggregate analysis.

Abstract

Transit-oriented development (TOD) has gained popularity worldwide as a sustainable form of urbanism by concentrating developments near a transit station so as to minimize auto-dependency and maximize ridership. Existing TOD studies, however, have limits in terms of small sample size and aggregate-level analysis. This study examines various travel outcomes – VMT, auto trips, transit trips, and walk trips – in rail-based station areas in eight U.S. metropolitan areas in order to understand the role of neighborhood built environment characteristics. Two-stage hurdle models handle excess zero values in trip count variables and multi-level models deal with three-level data structure – household within station areas within regions. The final models show that automobile use is associated with land-use diversity and street network design of a station area; transit use is strongly related to transit availability and land-use diversity; and walking is related to transit availability, land-use diversity, and street network design. The weakest influence among station-area environment factors is density. In sum, a TOD, a station area having a dense, mixed-use, walkable, and transit-friendly environment, motivates residents to walk more and take transit more while driving less.

Keywords

Transit-oriented development, Travel outcomes, Household travel survey, Two-stage hurdle model, Multi-level model