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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Can Land Use Policy Really Affect Travel Behavior? A Study of the Link Between Non-Work Travel and Land Use Characteristics


Planners are increasingly viewing land use policies as a way to manage transportation demand. Yet the evidence on the link between land use and travel behavior is inconclusive. This paper uses travel diary data for Southern California residents to examine the demand for non-work travel. Both non-work automobile trips and non-work miles travelled by car are modelled as a function of individual sociodemographic variables and land use characteristics near the person's place of residence. The land use variables are rarely statistically significant, and diagnostic tests suggest that land use (and thus residential location choice) is endogenous to non-work travel. The implications are twofold. The link between land use and non-work travel is weak at best, at least for the sample studied here, and future research should treat residential location and thus nearby land use characteristics as endogenous in models of travel behavior.

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