Built Environment and Car Travel: Analyses of Interdependencies

Series: Sustainable Urban Areas (v. 29)
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An academic and policy debate has been running in recent decades on whether and to what extent travel behavior is influenced by the built environment. This dissertation addresses the influence on daily travel distance, chaining behavior, car ownership and car commuting. As cars are the dominant mode of transport, car travel received most attention. The analyses were based on a comprehensive dataset collected in the North Wing of the Randstad in the Netherlands. The study findings indicate that a more compact urban structure reduces car use. However, the effects are small. One important lesson is that behavioral mechanisms are never simple but invariably elicit compensation. The challenge facing planners is to design cities and neighborhoods that make it easier to drive less and that are attractive to live in.