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The Impact of Urban Spatial Structure on Travel Demand in the United States

54 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016  

Antonio M. Bento

University of California, Santa Barbara

Maureen Cropper

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; Resources for the Future

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak

Yale School of Management

Katja Vinha

World Bank

Date Written: March 20, 2003

Abstract

Bento, Cropper, Mobarak, and Vinha combine measures of urban form and public transit supply for 114 urbanized areas with the 1990 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey to address two questions: (1) How do measures of urban form, including city shape, road density, the spatial distribution of population, and jobs-housing balance affect the annual miles driven and commute mode choices of U.S. households? (2) How does the supply of public transportation (annual route miles supplied and availability of transit stops) affect miles driven and commute mode choice?

The authors find that jobs-housing balance, population centrality, and rail miles supplied significantly reduce the probability of driving to work in cities with some rail transit. Population centrality and jobs-housing balance have a significant impact on annual household vehicle miles traveled (VMT), as do city shape, road density, and (in rail cities) annual rail route miles supplied. The elasticity of VMT with respect to each variable is small, on the order of 0.10-0.20 in absolute value. However, changing several measures of form simultaneously can reduce annual VMT significantly. Moving the sample households from a city with the characteristics of Atlanta to a city with the characteristics of Boston reduces annual VMT by 25 percent.

This paper - a product of Infrastructure and Environment, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to examine factors affecting travel behavior.

Suggested Citation

Bento, Antonio M. and Cropper, Maureen and Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq and Vinha, Katja, The Impact of Urban Spatial Structure on Travel Demand in the United States (March 20, 2003). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=636369

Antonio M. Bento (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Maureen L. Cropper

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States
203-432-5787 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.yale.edu/faculty/profiles/mobarak.shtml

Katja Vinha

World Bank

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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