Research Summary: How Built Environment Affects Travel Behavior

Filiberto Asare-Akuffo
Research Summary
Citation of Article
Zhang, L., Hong, J., Nasri, A., & Shen, Q. (2012). How built environment affects travel behavior: A comparative analysis of the connections between land use and vehicle miles traveled in US cities. Journal Of Transport And Land Use, 5(3). Link:

Specific Research Questions
Zhang et al. argues that, there are mix findings in the literature on the influence of the built environment on travel behavior. With emphasis on vehicle miles travel (VMT), the authors seek to answer the following: (1) Why is the relationship between the built environment and travel behavior different across cities in the United States (US), and (2) What are the factors that
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According to Zhang et al. these areas were selected to reflect the diversity in US cities such as size of population, spatial extent of cities, and land use planning. Data for the study were from household travel surveys, land use data, Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZ), and census tracts. These data were used to measure residential density, employment density, entropy (which indicates the level of mixed land developments), average block size, and distance from city …show more content…
As people age, they drive more due to increase in work and family trips. But this relationship is not linear, as older people will drive less as they reach a certain age. Similarly, the level of education is positively related to the number of trips per person. According to Zhang et al. (2012), jobs that require a higher level of education, also requires spatially distributed business activities. Moreover, highly educated people are likely to engage in more social and recreational activities resulting in more trips per person.
The residential density is negatively related to VMT across all the study areas. Meaning a higher residential density will result in a lower VMT, on the contrary, a lower residential density will lead to a higher VMT. In the same way, employment density is negatively related to VMT in Seattle, WA and Baltimore, MD study areas. The level of mixed land use is negatively related to VMT in all, but the Virginia case. Average block size is positively related to VMT in all the study areas. Likewise, the distance from the CBD is positively related to VMT, except the Virginia

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