Archives: Density

 

Rajamani 2003 - "Assessing the Impact of Urban Form Measures in Nonwork Trip Mode Choice After Controlling for Demographic and Level-of Service Effects"

Jayanthi Rajamani, Chanra R.  Bhat, et al.
"Assessing the Impact of Urban Form Measures in Nonwork Trip Mode Choice After Controlling for Demographic and Level-of Service Effects"
Presented at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (2003)
Session 747: Transportation and Urban Form
Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM, Hilton
On the Web

The abstract:
The relation between travel behavior and the local built environment has always been a contentious issue, despite several research efforts in the area. The current paper investigates the significance and explanatory power of a variety of urban form measures on nonwork activity travel mode choice. The data used for analysis is the 1995 Portland Metropolitan Activity Survey conducted by Portland Metro. The multinomial logit mode choice model results indicate that higher residential densities and mixed-uses promote walking behavior for nonwork activities.

 

 

Cervero 2002 - "Built Environments and mode Choice: Toward a Normative Framework"

Robert Cervero
"Built Environments and mode Choice: Toward a Normative Framework"
Transportation Research Part D
7(4):265-284 (2002)
On the Web

From the abstract:
The analysis reveals intensities and mixtures of land use significantly influence decisions to drive-alone, share a ride, or patronize transit, while the influences of urban design tend to be more modest. Elasticities that summarize relationships are also presented...

 

Cervero 1995 - "Commuting in Transit Versus Automobile Neighborhoods"

Robert Cervero and Roger Gorham
"Commuting in Transit Versus Automobile Neighborhoods"
Journal of the American Planning Association
61(2):210-225 (Spring 1995)

From the abstract:
This article compares commuting characteristics of transit-oriented and auto-oriented suburban neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Southern California. Transit neighborhoods averaged higher densities and had more gridded street patterns compared to their nearby counterparts with auto-oriented physical designs. . . For both metropolitan areas, pedestrian modal shares and trip generation rates tended to be considerably higher in transit than in auto-oriented neighborhoods. Transit neighborhoods had decidedly higher rates of bus commuting only in the Bay Area. Islands of transit-oriented neighborhoods in a sea of freeway -oriented suburbs seem to have negligible effects on transit commuting.

 

Soot n/a - "Are Sprawl and Obesity Related? Evidence from the Chicago Area"

Siim Soot, Lise Dirks, et al
"Are Sprawl and Obesity Related? Evidence from the Chicago Area"
Unpublished: Metropolitan Transportation Support Initiative (METSI) working paper 06-01
Relevance: medium
On the Web

The authors estimate the effect of urban, socio-economic, and personal characteristics on BMI using height, weight, and ZIP code data from 7 million driver's licenses and state IDs in greater Chicago. Their regression finds that population density has a slight but significant effect, dwarfed by other variables. I have many questions about their methodology, but nonetheless don't think they overturn the bulk of sprawl and obesity research.

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Marshall 2005 - "Inhalation of Motor Vehicles Emissions: Effects of Urban Population and Land Area"

Marshall, Julian D; McKone, Thomas E; et al
"Inhalation of Motor Vehicles Emissions: Effects of Urban Population and Land Area"
Atmospheric Environment
January 2005; v.39, n.2; pp.283-295
On the Web
Relevance: low

The authors developed a preliminary, theoretical model of how air quality is affected by different development patters: sprawl, infill, and constant-density growth. Their conclusions depend on the elasticity of emissions: how big a change in emissions is cause by a change in density. If emissions decrease greatly from increased density, then infill is best.  If emissions decrease by only a little, then constant density growth is best.

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Nasar 1995 - "The Psychological Sense of Community in the Neighborhood"

Nasar, Julian
"The Psychological Sense of Community in the Neighborhood"
Journal of the American Planning Association
Spring 1995; v61, n2; pp 178-184
Relevance: high

There is more social capital--at least as conceived as neighborhood social ties--in mixed-use (and presumably higher density) communities than in single use communities. From the abstract: This paper describes the development and testing of an 11-item Likert scale of the sense of neighborhood community, using responses from 54 residents in three suburbs in Columbus, Ohio. One test of the scale with 100 residents in single-use and mixed-use areas near one another found significantly more sense of community in the mixed-use neighborhood. More sense of community emerged among married persons and couples with children as compared to singles and childless couples.

Much of this paper is devoted to justifying its research methodologies. Of particular interest is a list of 15 questions on page 181 that researchers used to ascertain neighborhood social ties. This could be of use in future primary research on social capital.

 

Lopez 200? - "Thirty Years of Urban Sprawl in Metropolitan America: 1970-2000"

Lopez, Russ
"Thirty Years of Urban Sprawl in Metropolitan America: 1970-2000"
A report to the Fannie Mae Foundation
publication date unknown
Not on the web (received from author)
Relevance: high

The author constructed a sprawl index primarily measuring density for 330 metropolitan areas. The index ranged from 0-100 with the score roughly correlating to the percentage of residents who live in low-density census tracts, so a higher score means more sprawl. In this report the author lists his sprawl scores, compares his index to Ewing's index, and discusses changes in sprawl from 1970 to 2000. Lopez's index correlates roughly 50% to Ewing's index, and 92% to Ewing's density factor. Also see Lopez's sprawl-obesity article using this index.

 

Ewing 2002 - "Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact"

Ewing, Reid; Pendall, Rolf; Chen, Don
"Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact"
Smart Growth America
2002
On the Web
Relevance: high

Ewing et al. created a sprawl index for ~83 metropolitan areas, incorporating density, land use mix, centeredness, and street accessibility. The authors also estimated the impact of sprawl on various transportation-related outcomes. They found that a higher degree of sprawl is associated with higher average vehicle ownership, daily VMT per capita, annual traffic fatality rate, and maximum ozone level; more sprawl was associated with a lower share of work trips by transit and walking. Note that, as with most sprawl studies, we can't assume a causal relationship.

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Kelly-Schwartz 2004 - "Is Sprawl Unhealthy?"

Kelly-Schwartz, Alexia; Stockard, Jean, et al
"Is Sprawl Unhealthy? A Multilevel Analysis of the Relationship of Metropolitan Sprawl to the Health of Individuals"
Journal of Planning Education and Research
December 2004; v.24, n2; pp.184-196
On the Web
Relevance: high

The authors replicated and extended Ewing et al's work on the effect of sprawl on health. They compared self- and physican-rated health as well as a variety of chronic conditions across metropolitan areas while controlling for income, education, sex, etc. They found that sprawl does affect health somewhat, but in a complex way that is difficult to track.  It appears that a highly gridded street network is associated with better health while more density is associated with poorer health.  While sprawl was not significantly associated with a higher prevalence of chronic conditions, among those with those conditions, the gridded street network was associated with better health.

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Ewing 2003 - "Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity, and Mortality"

Ewing, Reid; Schmid, Tom, et al
"Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity, and Mortality"
American Journal of Health Promotion
September/October 2003; vol.18, n.1; pp.47-57
On the Web
Relevance: high

The authors estimated the impact of a county and metropolitan area sprawl index on obesity, physical activity, and related diseases. They found that the county  index significantly influenced the number of minutes spent in leisure-time walking, average BMI, obesity status, and prevalence of hypertension.

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