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Car Availability Explained by the Structural Relationships Between Lifestyles, Residential Location, and Underlying Residential and Travel Attitudes

UCD-ITS-RP-14-111

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Suggested Citation:
Van Acker, Veronique, Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Frank Witlox (2014) Car Availability Explained by the Structural Relationships Between Lifestyles, Residential Location, and Underlying Residential and Travel Attitudes. Transport Policy 35, 88 - 99

The majority of land use-travel behaviour studies only considers the direct influence of spatial characteristics on daily travel behaviour. However, this framework should be expanded. A first step is to explore the complex interdependencies of long-term lifestyle decisions, medium-term decisions about residential location and car ownership, and the underlying residential and travel attitudes. Travel behaviour should be considered within a hierarchy of decisions while considering the motivational background of these decisions. Using data from an Internet survey completed by +1800 respondents in Flanders, Belgium, this paper defines car ownership somewhat more broadly as car availability. Results of a structural equation model indicate a significant direct effect of the residential neighbourhood on car availability. However, effects are small compared to the influence of other variables such as stage of life and travel (mode) attitude, the latter referring to travel-related selfselection. Moreover, one should keep in mind that residential attitudes remain important in the initial selection of the residential neighbourhood and its spatial characteristics, indicating the need to control for residential self-selection.