Can information promote transportation-friendly location decisions? A simulation experiment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, policy - sustainable, ridership - mode choice, technology - passenger information


Transportation–land use connection, Traveler information, Location choice, Experimental design


Where people live, work, shop, and recreate fundamentally determines their local travel options. Yet, information problems such as the cost of conducting comprehensive searches and cognitive load have been shown to limit decision-making. In the context of residential decision-making, information problems are likely to influence which locations get chosen. This study examines whether providing people seeking a rental home with map-based information about the transit and pedestrian accessibility of the available units might influence their residential location choices. More specifically, would some people make use of this information to select more accessible residences than they would have otherwise chosen? This proposition was tested through an experimental research design in a laboratory setting. Graduate student participants were asked to select their top choices of where to live after reviewing a database of residential properties custom-designed for this study. In order to assess the influence of accessibility information, we divided participants randomly into control and experimental groups, with the former receiving baseline information currently available and the latter receiving map-based supplemental property information on multi-modal accessibility to desirable destinations. The study results suggest that providing multi-modal accessibility information to people who are relocating will enhance the attractiveness of locations that support multiple travel modes. If this is true for broader populations, then planners and policy makers may be able to increase use of non-auto modes by providing multi-modal transportation information to people at the time when they are looking for a new residence.


Permission to publish abstract given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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