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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Travel In the ’Hood: Ethnic Neighborhoods and Mode Choice


Many urban planners promote mixed-use developments as one component of a broader sustainable development strategy. Scholars and advocates argue that these neighborhoods have the potential to reduce traffic congestion by promoting fewer trips, shorter travel distances, and alternative modes of travel.

With their mix of ethnic residents, businesses, services, and community institutions, many ethnic neighborhoods are mixed-use neighborhoods. We hypothesize, therefore, that residents of these ethnic neighborhoods will exhibit different travel behavior than those living outside of ethnic neighborhoods. Drawing on data from the 2000 U.S. Census, we examine whether residents of ethnic neighborhoods are more likely to commute by carpool and public transit than other workers. We find a significant relationship between residential location in ethnic clusters and travel behavior. The findings provide insight into the relationship among social networks, land use, and travel behavior.

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