Publication Detail

Land Use and Travel Behavior


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Kitamura, Ryuichi, Laura Laidet, Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Carol Buckinger, F. Gianelli (1994) Land Use and Travel Behavior. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-94-27

California's air quality in many metropolitan areas has deteriorated to the point that residents are concerned enough to rouse their legislators to protect and improve air quality through enaction of new legislation (The Clean Air Act of 1990). While the federal statutes place certain demands on improving California's air quality, California's air quality standards are more rigorous than the federal standards or any other state standards. The major contributor to air pollution is vehicle emissions. This study focuses on the relationship among land use density, mixture, transit accessibility, and vehicle use. The last item stems from travel behavior, which in turn reflects attitudes and behavior patterns. Our need to understand the underlying factors of travel decisions and the attitudes indicating which decision will be made has led to the undertaking of this study. 

The approach of this study, which is a hybrid of the social scientific case study and large-scale surveys research, enables the acquisition of detailed descriptions of land use and transportation service levels, which are essential to the study. At the same time, it facilitates multivariate statistical analysis based on large sample survey results. The purpose of this research project is to determine the quantitative relationships between the density and configuration of land uses and the emissions (due to vehicle-trips and vehicle-miles traveled) that results. The goal of this research is to provide information to suggest whether, and/or in what ways, land-use-related policies will be effective in reducing emissions.

This study examined the effects of land use and attitudinal characteristics on travel behavior for five diverse San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods. First, socio-economic and neighborhood characteristics were regressed against number and proportion of trips by various modes. The best models for each measure of travel behavior confirmed that neighborhood characteristics add significant explanatory power when socio-economic differences are controlled for. Specifically, measures of residential density, public transit accessibility, mixed land use, and the presence of sidewalks are significantly associated with trip generation by mode and modal split. Second, 39 attitude statements relating to urban life were factor analyzed into eight factors: pro-environment, pro-transit, suburbanite, automotive mobility, time pressure, urban villager, TCM, and workaholic. Scores on these factors were introduced into the six best models discussed above. The relative contributions of the socio-economic, neighborhood, and attitudinal blocks of variables were assessed. While each block of variables offers some significant explanatory power to the models, the attitudinal variables explained the highest proportion of the variation in the data. The finding that attitudes are more strongly associated with travel than are land use characteristics suggests that land use policies promoting higher densities and mixtures may not alter travel demand materially unless residents’ attitudes are also changed.

Key words: land use, travel behavior, land use modeling, traditional neighborhood developments