Factors affecting car ownership and mode choice in rail transit-supported suburbs of a large Chinese city

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, mode - car, land use - planning, land use - impacts, land use - transit oriented development, planning - surveys, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, policy - sustainable


Rail transit, Urban expansion, Automobile dependence, Shanghai, Large Chinese cities


As Chinese cities continue to grow rapidly and their newly developed suburbs continue to accommodate most of the enormous population increase, rail transit is seen as the key to counter automobile dependence. This paper examines the effects of rail transit-supported urban expansion using travel survey data collected from residents in four Shanghai suburban neighborhoods, including three located near metro stations. Estimated binary logit model of car ownership and nested logit model of commuting mode choice reveal that: (1) proximity to metro stations has a significant positive association with the choice of rail transit as primary commuting mode, but its association with car ownership is insignificant; (2) income, job status, and transportation subsidy are all positively associated with the probabilities of owning car and driving it to work; (3) higher population density in work location relates positively to the likelihood of commuting by the metro, but does not show a significant relationship with car ownership; (4) longer commuting distance is strongly associated with higher probabilities of riding the metro, rather than driving, to work; (5) considerations of money, time, comfort, and safety appear to exert measurable influences on car ownership and mode choice in the expected directions, and the intention to ride the metro for commuting is reflected in its actual use as primary mode for journey to work. These results strongly suggest that rail transit-supported urban expansion can produce important positive outcomes, and that this strategic approach can be effectively facilitated by transportation policies and land use plans, as well as complemented by timely provision of high quality rail transit service to suburban residents.


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


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