Exploring car ownership and car use in neighborhoods near metro stations in Beijing: Does the neighborhood built environment matter?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - car, mode - subway/metro, ridership - behaviour, land use - urban density, land use - impacts, land use - planning, planning - education


The built environment, Car ownership, VKT, Self-selection, Beijing


Public transport services are believed to play an important role in constraining car use. However, it has been found that cars are still used at high rates near many metro stations. This paper aims to explore car ownership and car use in people living close to metro stations. Taking Beijing, China, as a case study, this study shows that the likelihood of owning a car, and the number of work and non-work vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT), is lower in areas with higher mixed land use. Residents’ income and family structure both affect VKT. People with an awareness of sustainable land use and transportation modes use fewer VKT. The study also has some interesting new findings in the Chinese context. It found that residential density was not significantly related to VKT. Interestingly, neighborhood type was firmly associated with car ownership and use: those who live in Danwei neighborhoods generated more work VKT, and those living in indemnificatory neighborhoods used more non-work VKT. Additionally, renters were less likely to own cars than house owners, and people with Beijing hukou generated more VKT. People preferring to live in close proximity to the metro system and travel by foot were more likely to own cars in the future than other people. The results suggest that increasing land use diversity and the accessibility of living amenities in neighborhoods near metro stations could enhance the performance of transport systems by reducing dependence on cars. Housing and transport policies, along with behavior-education programs, could strengthen this effect.


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


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