Residential Self Selection and Rail Commuting: A Nested Logit Analysis
Past studies show that those living near train stations tend to rail-commute far more often than the typical resident of rail-served cities. Some contend this is largely due to selfselection, marked by those with an affinity to transit riding consciously moving into neighborhoods that are well-served by transit. This article explores the self-selection question by constructing a nested logit model that jointly estimates the probability someone will reside near a rail stop and in turn commute by rail transit, using year-2000 travel data from the San Francisco Bay Area. A multinomial logit model is also used to predict car ownership levels. The research reveals that residential location and commute choice are jointly related decisions among station-area residents. A comparison of odds ratios among those living near and away from transit, controlling for the influences of other factors, suggests that residential self-selection accounts for approximately 40 percent of the rail-commute decision. These findings suggest that supportive zoning should be introduced and barriers to residential mobility should be eliminated to allow the self-selection process to occur naturally through the marketplace.