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Title:Examining the Impacts of Residential Self-Selection on Travel Behavior: Methodologies and Empirical Findings
Authors:Xinyu (Jason) Cao, Patricia L. Mokhtarian, and Susan L. Handy
Publication Date:Nov 2006
Report #:DP-177
TRID #:01447667
Keywords:built environment, impacts, land use, methodology, residential location, travel behavior
Type:Research Report – Department Publications


Numerous studies have found that suburban residents drive more and walk less than residents in traditional neighborhoods. What is less well understood is the extent to which the observed patterns of travel behavior can be attributed to the residential built environment itself, as opposed to the prior self-selection of residents into a built environment that is consistent with their predispositions toward certain travel modes and land use configurations. To date, most studies addressing this self-selection issue fall into seven categories: direct questioning, statistical control, instrumental variables models, sample selection models, joint discrete choice models, structural equations models, and longitudinal designs. This report reviews and evaluates these alternative approaches. Virtually all of the 28 empirical studies reviewed found a statistically significant influence of the built environment remaining after self-selection was accounted for. However, the practical importance of that influence was almost never assessed. Although time and resource limitations are recognized, we recommend usage of longitudinal structural equations modeling with control groups, a design which is strong with respect to all causality requisites.

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