An empirically-based hyperbolic relationship between vehicle (or fuel) use and population density is now widely cited as the basis for urban policies such as increases in suburban densities, "neo-traditional neighbourhoods" and ways to encourage non-auto modes of personal travel. In this review paper, the statistical fallacy embodied in the claimed relationship (arising from the creation of non-independent compound variables and erroneousattempts at correlation analysis) is noted and some implications for policies based upon it are discussed. Alternative interpretations of available data suggest that city area and fuel prices might be truer causal factors in fuel use. The dilemma confronting the independent commentator in urban affairs is this: is it productive in the present context to focus on the quality and interpretation of urban data? The paper notes that, while such a preoccupation may not influence policy decisions, it may provide a better chance of affecting what actually happens by shedding light on processes of urban change rather than focussing solely on desired end states. (a) For the covering entry of this conference, see IRRD abstract no 861490.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 117-31

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00674941
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • ISBN: 0-7325-0660-3
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 28 1995 12:00AM