Understanding neighbourhood design impact on travel behaviour

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - impacts, land use - smart growth, mode - car, place - europe, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice


Longitudinal analysis, Neighbourhood characteristics, Residential self-selection


The objective of this study is to explore whether changes in neighbourhood characteristics bring about changes in travel choice. Residential self-selection is a concern in the connections between land-use and travel behaviour. The recent literature suggests that a longitudinal structural equations modelling (SEM) approach can be a powerful tool to assess the importance of neighbourhood characteristics on travel behaviour as opposed to the attitude-induced residential self-selection. However, the evidence to date is limited to particular geographical areas and evidence from one country might not be transferrable to another because of differences in land-use patterns and land-use policies. The paper is to address the gap by extending the evidence using British data. The case study is based on the metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear, North East of England, UK. A SEM is applied to 219 respondents who reported residential relocation. The results identify that neighbourhood characteristics do influence travel behaviour after controlling for self-selection. For instance, the more people are exposed to public transport access, the more likely they drive less. Neighbourhood characteristics also impact through their influence on car ownership. A social environment with vitality also reduces the amount of private car travel. These findings suggest that land-use policies at neighbourhood level can play an important role in reducing driving.


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


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