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Household Attributes in a Transit-Oriented Development: Evidence from Taipei

Introduction

Suburbanization and planning unit development have encouraged dependence on private automobiles in North America since the 1930s. Neighborhood designs with large-scale blocks, sparse arterial networks, and cul-de-sacs reduce the inclination to walk and the development of transit services. Such automobile-based develop­ment tends to cause urban sprawl, increase commuting distance, and reduce land use efficiency. Since transit systems promote the efficient use of resources such as land, fuel, etc., cities are increasingly applying transit-based strategies to enhance urban sustainability. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is now a popular strat­egy in North America for shaping transit-based spatial structures.

Taiwan has experienced rapid population and economic growth since the end of World War II but has extremely limited land resources. Automobile-based devel­opment in recent decades has caused substantial transportation inefficiencies and environmental degradation. To reduce traffic congestion and improve environ­mental quality, cities in Taiwan are now applying TOD principles in their urban development strategies. For instance, Taipei, the largest city in Taiwan, announced a comprehensive TOD plan (Department of Urban Development of Taipei City 1999) and a revised zoning ordinance to encourage dense development near metro stations by raising the maximum allowable building-bulk ratio.

Dense development, mixed land use, and pedestrian-friendly design are principle attributes of the TOD built environment and are associated with numerous benefits for urban sustainability (Cervero et al. 2004). However, some attributes may be undesirable to the general public. Residents often prefer low density and pure resi­dential environments, which are incompatible with an environment of dense and diverse land uses. Senior, Webster, and Blank (2004) investigated households in the Cardi. region of South Wales and concluded that most relocating households prefer, and actively seek to move to, detached or semi-detached housing with pri­vate gardens, often in suburban locations. Apartment living is rarely preferred, and access to facilities in mixed land use areas is rarely a major concern. Thus, urban planners should not assume that residents prefer a TOD built environment.

Previous studies of TOD mostly focused on government concerns such as planning strategies and implementation (Banai 1998; Beimborn et al. 1991; Cervero 1994; Loukaitou-Sideris 2000; Moon 1990), planning models (Kaneko and Fukuda 1999; Lin and Gau 2006; Lin and Li 2008) and e.ect assessment (Cervero and Arrington 2008; Lund et al. 2004; Lin and Shin 2008). Property markets and developers in TOD areas are rarely analyzed. For instance, Cervero and Bosselmann (1994) found that property developers were uninterested in developing transit villages and dense communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Levine and Inam (2004) reported that local regulation, neighborhood opposition, and lack of market interest are the three main obstacles to TOD. Further, few studies have explored housing demand in TOD. Lund (2006) surveyed the motivations of residents for living in a TOD area and found that type or quality of housing, cost of housing, and quality of neighborhood were the top three considerations of residents who had chosen to live in a TOD. The Lund study of TOD focused on why, instead of who. Although Arrington and Cervero (2008) compiled fragmentary evidence of TOD resident characteristics, very few previous studies have compared resident characteristics between TOD communities and general communities. However, understanding household attributes of TOD residents is essential for deploying TOD successfully via market mechanisms.

This study empirically analyzed correlations between household attributes and the decision to live in a TOD built environment by applying binary logit model to survey data for 388 households near metro stations in Taipei. The empirical findings of this work provide a basis for recommending possible TOD planning strategies given considerations of property demand. The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the research design, including assessment of survey areas, hypothesized relationships, and data analysis methods. Section 3 describes the sample data. Section 4 presents the model estimations and recommended strategies. Conclusions are presented in Section 5 along with recommended future research.