Sustainable Transportation Center
Available online at doi: 10.1177/0013916507310318
Cao, Xinyu, Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Susan L. Handy (2009) No Particular Place to Go: An Empirical Analysis of Travel for the Sake of Travel. Environment and Behavior 41 (2), 233 - 257
Many people find some intrinsic value in travel itself. This leads to excess travel, which can have important (mode-specific) secondary effects. Society would benefit if individuals satisfied more of their desire for travel by choosing to walk or bike rather than drive. However, our understanding of the determinants of travel for its own sake and the role of the residential environment in shaping it is limited. Using data collected from 1,682 respondents in Northern California, this study explores environmental correlates of traveling out of the house with no particular destination in mind, controlling for attitudinal and sociodemographic factors. We found that the generation of such “undirected travel” is influenced by attitudes but residential environment characteristics also matter. Specifically, proximity to business, not living on a cul-de-sac, and aesthetic qualities encourage undirected walking/biking. We speculate that providing neighborhood-based physical activity options may lead to the substitution of walking/biking for driving.
Keywords: autotelic behavior, built environment, positive utility, public health, travel behavior