Built for active travel? Investigating the contextual effects of the built environment on transportation mode choice

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, planning - surveys, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, land use - impacts, land use - urban design


Built environment, Active transportation, Spatial variations, Land use entropy, Nested Logit, Quadratic polynomial trend surface


The study investigates the role of the built environment attributes and their contextual effects on travel behaviour. The study utilized a dataset of 4739 respondents elicited from an online survey distributed in Hamilton City, Canada. A Nested Logit (NL) model and a quadratic polynomial trend surface are employed to spatially investigate the determinants influencing mode choice behaviour. The study contributes to our understanding of how geography moderates the impact of built environment attributes on mode choice behaviour. Socioeconomic demographics are found to play a pivotal role in explaining Hamiltonians' mode choice behaviour. For built environment attributes, sidewalk density is positively associated with walking and public transit use. Moreover, bike lane density is positively associated with biking and negatively associated with public transit use. Regarding land-use entropy (mix), the results show that high land-use entropy is negatively associated with choosing the car as a passenger travel mode. From a contextual perspective, the results affirmed that the influence of built environment attributes is not equally efficacious across the city. Improving the built environment attributes across the city reveals a substantial increase in walking and biking while decreasing the probability of choosing other modes. However, it is noteworthy to mention that the influence of improving the built environment is not homogeneous over geography.


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


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