The impacts of built environment characteristics of rail station areas on household travel behavior

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - rail, mode - pedestrian, mode - car, land use - impacts, land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban density, planning - surveys, planning - network design


Transit-oriented development, Travel outcomes, Household travel survey, Two-stage hurdle model, Multi-level model


Transit-oriented development (TOD) has gained popularity worldwide as a sustainable form of urbanism by concentrating developments near a transit station so as to minimize auto-dependency and maximize ridership. Existing TOD studies, however, have limits in terms of small sample size and aggregate-level analysis. This study examines various travel outcomes – VMT, auto trips, transit trips, and walk trips – in rail-based station areas in eight U.S. metropolitan areas in order to understand the role of neighborhood built environment characteristics. Two-stage hurdle models handle excess zero values in trip count variables and multi-level models deal with three-level data structure – household within station areas within regions. The final models show that automobile use is associated with land-use diversity and street network design of a station area; transit use is strongly related to transit availability and land-use diversity; and walking is related to transit availability, land-use diversity, and street network design. The weakest influence among station-area environment factors is density. In sum, a TOD, a station area having a dense, mixed-use, walkable, and transit-friendly environment, motivates residents to walk more and take transit more while driving less.


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