Does urban living influence baby boomers’ travel behavior?

The authors compare the travel behavior of urban versus suburban baby boomers in the Boston metropolitan area. Using propensity score matching to attempt to control for self-selection and data from two surveys implemented in 2008 and 2010, the authors find that the urban boomers tend to be less automobile-dependent than suburban baby boomers. Urban baby boomers also make more recreational non-motorized transport (NMT), social, utilitarian, and transit commute trips. Most of these differences seem to be primarily a result of the urban setting, not the particular preferences of boomers living in urban settings. The authors find very small self-selection effects on automobile commuting, recreational NMT, and utilitarian trips: 1–7% of observed influence. The authors also find some evidence that baby boomers’ preference for social activities tends to be mismatched to their environments – suburban boomers want more social opportunities than their settings enable. For public transport, the authors find a relatively large self-selection effect, 43% of observed influence, suggesting a transit-oriented boomer market segment exists.


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  • Accession Number: 01523696
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 29 2014 11:13AM