Role of the Built Environment on Mode Choice Decisions: Additional Evidence on the Impact of Density

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - urban density, ridership - mode choice, ridership - commuting, policy - environment, mode - subway/metro


Work trips, Trip chaining, Tri-State Region (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Travel costs, Residential location, Population density, Place of residence, New York Metropolitan Area, Mode choice, Modal choice, Journey to work, Choice of transportation, Built environment, Automobile use, Automobile usage, Automobile travel, Automobile ownership, Accessibility


This paper seeks to assess the role of density in affecting mode choice decisions in home-based work tours, while controlling for confounding factors including generalized travel cost, accessibility, and access to transit stations. A dataset collected in the New York Metropolitan Region was used to estimate a simultaneous two-equation system comprising two mutually interacting dependent variables: car ownership and the propensity to use auto. The results confirm the role of density after controlling for the confounding factors; in particular, employment density at work exerts more influence than residential density at home. The study also demonstrates the importance of using tour as the analysis unit in mode choice decisions.