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Title:Does the Livability of a Residential Street Depend on the Characteristics of the Neighboring Street Network?
Authors:Wesley E. Marshall and Carolyn A. McAndrews
University:University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:Jul 2016
Report #:MPC-16-309
Project #:MPC-426
TRID #:01608693
Keywords:arterial highways, land use, livability, quality of life, residential streets
Type:Research Report – MPC Publications



Not long after the advent of cars arose a conflict between moving traffic and residential livability. The typical response pushed traffic off residential streets and onto nearby arterial roads. With many researchers identifying traffic on residential streets as an underlying issue behind poor livability, this solution makes perfect sense. However, is the relationship between residential livability and traffic moderated by the character of the nearby arterial road?

This project sought to answer this question via a residential study of ten Denver, CO neighborhoods that could be partitioned along two dimensions: high/low traffic; and high/low design quality. Our results suggest that the character of the nearby arterial road influences residential livability. When controlling for income, high levels of traffic and low levels of urban design on the arterial detract from livability. Some results even suggest that residential streets with heavy traffic near a low traffic/high design arterial are just as livable, if not more, than residential streets with light traffic near a high traffic/low design arterial. We then examined how residents perceive and use arterial roads and what specific characteristics of arterial roads associate with residential satisfaction. Using factor analysis and ordinal logistic regression, the results suggest that arterials perceived as vibrant are associated with increased residential satisfaction, above and beyond other features of the residential environment. The results of this study point to land use policies, enforcement of social norms, and the design of pedestrian and transit environments as measures to maximize the contributions of commercial arterials to neighborhood livability.

How to Cite

Marshall, Wesley E., and Carolyn A. McAndrews. Does the Livability of a Residential Street Depend on the Characteristics of the Neighboring Street Network?, MPC-16-309. North Dakota State University - Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, Fargo: Mountain-Plains Consortium, 2016.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050