Examining the Impacts of Residential Self-Selection on Travel Behavior: Methodologies and Empirical Findings

Numerous studies have found that suburban residents drive more and walk less than residents in traditional neighborhoods. What is less well understood is the extent to which the observed patterns of travel behavior can be attributed to the residential built environment itself, as opposed to the prior self-selection of residents into a built environment that is consistent with their predispositions toward certain travel modes and land use configurations. To date, most studies addressing this self-selection issue fall into seven categories: direct questioning, statistical control, instrumental variables models, sample selection models, joint discrete choice models, structural equations models, and longitudinal designs. This report reviews and evaluates these alternative approaches. Virtually all of the 28 empirical studies reviewed found a statistically significant influence of the built environment remaining after self-selection was accounted for. However, the practical importance of that influence was almost never assessed. Although time and resource limitations are recognized, we recommend usage of longitudinal structural equations modeling with control groups, a design which is strong with respect to all causality requisites.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute

    North Dakota State University
    1320 Albrecht Boulevard
    Fargo, ND  United States  581052

    University of California, Davis

    Department of Environmental Science and Policy
    One Shields Avenue
    Davis, CA  United States  95616

    University of California, Davis

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, One Shields Avenue
    Davis, CA  United States  95616
  • Authors:
    • Cao, Xinyu Jason
    • Mokhtarian, Patricia L
    • Handy, Susan
  • Publication Date: 2006-11


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 51p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01447667
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DP-177
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 28 2012 2:29PM