Structural Equations Model of Land Use Patterns, Location Choice, and Travel Behavior: Seattle, Washington, Compared with Lisbon, Portugal

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - mass transit


Travel behavior, Transit, Structural equation modeling, Socioeconomic factors, Socioeconomic aspects, Seattle (Washington), Residential location, Public transit, Place of residence, Mobility, Mass transit, Local transit, Lisbon (Portugal), Land use, Households, Comparative analysis, Automobile ownership


This paper addresses the relationship between travel behavior and land use patterns through the use of a structural equations modeling framework and a more comprehensive modeling than in the past. The proposed model structure is by design heavily influenced by a model developed for Lisbon, Portugal, to allow comparisons. In a related paper about that model, the existence of significant effects of land use patterns in travel behavior was found. The travel behavior variables included in the proposed model are multidimensional and comprehend both the short term (number of trips and trip scheduling) and the long term (home location, car and pass ownership, and mobility decisions). The modeled land use variables measure the levels of urban intensity, density, and diversity, both in relation to types of uses and the mix between jobs and inhabitants and the public transport supply levels. The land use patterns are described at both the residence and the employment zones. To account for self-selection bias, the land use variables are explicitly modeled as functions of socioeconomic attributes of individuals and their households. The Seattle, Washington, findings are presented and then compared with the Lisbon findings. Many commonalities between the two environments were found as well as many important differences pointing to the need for policy initiatives that are local and tailored to the specific context.