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Impacts of Mixed Use and Density on Utilization of Three Modes of Travel: Single-Occupant Vehicle, Transit, and Walking

Findings from an empirical analysis to test the impacts of land-use mix, population density, and employment density on the use of the single-occupant vehicle (SOV), transit, and walking for both work trips and shopping trips are presented. The hypothetical relationships tested fo-cused on whether there is a relationship between urban form and modal choice, whether this relationship exists when controlling for non-urban form factors, whether this relationship is linear or nonlinear, and whether a stronger relationship exists between modal choice and urban form when they are measured at both trip ends as opposed to either the origin or the destination. A review of the literature and experiences sug-gested that a fair amount of information is known about the impacts of density on mode choice. However, considerable debate exists over whether density itself is actually the causal stimulus or a surrogate for other factors.

To address this issue a data base was developed with a comprehensive set of variables for which density may be a proxy, for example, demographics and level of service. This analysis employed a correlational research design in which mode choice was compared among census tracts with differing levels of density and mix. Findings from this research indicate that density and mix are both related to mode choice, even when controlling for non-urban form factors for both work trips and shopping trips. Furthermore, the relationship between population and employment density and mode choice for SOV, transit, and walking is nonlinear for both work and shopping trips. Transit usage and walking increase as density and land-use mix increase, whereas SOV usage declines. The findings from this research suggest that mea-suring urban form at both trip ends provides a greater ability to predict travel choices than looking at trip ends separately. The findings also suggest that increasing the level of land-use mix at the trip origins and destinations is also related to a reduction in SOV travel and an increase in transit and walking.