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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Impact of Urban Form on Travel Behavior: A Meta-Analysis


A common viewpoint held by many New-Urbanist and Neo-Traditional plan- ners is that characteristics of the built environment, such as population density, mixed land use settings and street configuration, exert a strong influence on travel behavior. The empirical evidence for this relation, however, as portrayed in many primary studies, is somewhat mixed. This paper offers an application of statistical meta-analysis in an attempt to settle the contradictory findings reported in the single studies. The findings reaffirm the role of residential density as the most important built environment element influencing travel choice. The findings also reinforce the land use mixing component of the built environment as being a strong predictor of travel behavior. The findings do not, however, support the most controversial claim of the New Urbanism regarding the role of street pattern configuration in influencing travel behavior.

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