Handy 2005 - "Correlation or Causality Between the Built Environment and Travel Behavior? Evidence from Northern California"

Handy, Susan; Cao, Xinyu; Mokhtarian, Patricia
"Correlation or Causality Between the Built Environment and Travel Behavior? Evidence from Northern California"
Transportation Research Part D
November 2005; v.10, n.6; pp.427-444
On the Web
Relevance: medium

Handy et al surveyed residents of traditional and suburban neighborhoods on their travel habits, travel attitudes, perceived neighborhood attributes, and socio-economic status. They found that while residents of traditional neighborhoods drove 18% fewer miles than suburban residents, the variation in this cross-section could be better explained by differences in attitudes and SES factors than in the built environment.

When the authors separated out those who had moved in the past year for a quasi-longitudinal study, differences in the built environment (mainly in accessibility) appeared significant. The built environment seemed to affect increased walking more than decreased driving.

I'm a bit wary of the quasi-longitudinal part of this study. Why would the built environment be significant there but not in the cross-sectional analysis?

Comments

xinyu cao

Thank you for your comments. The panel analysis largely eliminated permanent effects resulting from unchanged attitudes. So the built environment becomes significant. In cross-sectional analysis, attitudes carried more explanatory power than built environment variables, which became insignificant after incorporating attitudes. Hope it helps.

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