Urban form, transit supply, and travel behavior in Latin America: Evidence from Mexico's 100 largest urban areas

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, place - north america, land use - planning, land use - impacts, land use - urban density, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, ridership - behaviour


Transit, Urban form, Travel behavior, Mexico, Mode choice


This paper examines the relationship between urban form, transportation supply, and individuals' mode choice across Mexico's 100 largest urban areas. After documenting variation in mode choice, urban form, and vehicle ownership, we fit a multinomial logit model to data from 2.5 million commuters who reported a work commute on the 2015 Intercensus. We estimate whether a person commutes by transit, car, or walking/biking as a function of commuters' gender, age, employment status, household income, and seven measures of urban form and transportation supply. Across urban areas, commuters are less likely to drive in dense urban areas where jobs are spatially concentrated jobs and near population centers. Commuters are also less likely to drive in areas with better public transit supply and less roadway. Collectively the measures of urban form are as strongly related to the probability someone commutes to work by car as household income. Population density plays a particularly strongly role with an estimated elasticity four times as strong as recent studies from US urban areas. Taken together, our findings suggest that land use planning and transportation investments can and do influence commute patterns. Recent public policies have almost certainly contributed to increased, rather than decreased driving and associated congestion, pollution, and traffic fatalities.


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


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