Can metro transit reduce driving? Evidence from Xi'an, China

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - impacts, land use - transit oriented development, mode - car, mode - subway/metro, place - asia, planning - environmental impact, policy - congestion, policy - sustainable, ridership - behaviour


Transit-oriented development, Residential self-selection, Rail transit, Longitudinal design, Sustainable travel


Rail transit investment has increased greatly because of its potential to attract choice riders to switch from driving to transit. However, there is limited knowledge about the impacts of rail transit on driving, particularly in fast-growing developing countries. Furthermore, many studies are subject to one or more limitations from methodological and practical perspectives. Using the 2014 data from Xi'an, this paper employs both cross-sectional and quasi-longitudinal analyses to examine how metro transit influences driving. The quasi-longitudinal analysis shows that moving into metro neighborhoods is negatively associated with change in driving although the cross-sectional analysis shows no effect. Therefore, the results based on cross-sectional analysis may be misleading. Taken all together, metro transit development and the design of station-area neighborhoods have the potential to reduce driving, and mitigate its impact on environment and slow the growth of traffic congestion.


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


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