The Effect of Neighborhood Characteristics, Accessibility, Home-Work Location, and Demographics on Commuting Distances

The goal of this paper is to better understand home-to-work travel distances throughout the Montréal Metropolitan region. A simultaneous equation modeling analysis is carried out to jointly explain commuter trip length and home-work location as a function of neighborhood typologies, commuter socio-demographics and measures of job accessibility. First, a factor and cluster analysis of urban form is performed over the entire region on a fine-scale grid pattern. The outcome of this analysis is the classification of typologies at both home location and job destinations. Different measures of accessibility and commuter socio-demographics are then incorporated into the analysis. Varied data sources including a detailed Montréal Origin-Destination Survey on over 30,000 home-to-work automobile trips are involved in this research. Among other results, commuters that live and work in a different sub-region almost double the average trip distance and although socio-economic factors are statistically significantly correlated to commuter distance, these factors have a marginal effect. Interestingly, our results also highlight the importance of urban form (represented by the neighborhood typologies) and job accessibility. Deciding on whether to live in the same sub-region of job location was modeled as an endogenous binary random utility model. In addition to these factors, unobserved heterogeneities seem to be simultaneously influencing both the home-work location choice and trip-to-work distances. Our results highlight the importance of home-work location with respect to urban form and job accessibility. Hence, policies that support more dense and mixed land-use in suburban areas would not be enough to reduce commuter distances. These actions should be accompanied with other policy initiatives to discourage long car trips.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 24p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01155860
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-2610
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 11:15AM