The Relationship Between Urban Form and Activity Patterns: Multivariate Analysis of Frequently Made Trips



The Relationship Between Urban Form and Activity Patterns: Multivariate Analysis of Frequently Made Trips

Authors

SNELLEN D, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Description

Modern urban planning often involves the development of large building sites, providing housing, jobs and services for an increasing number of households. This development requires that fundamental decisions be made with regard to the spatial structure of

Abstract

Modern urban planning often involves the development of large building sites, providing housing, jobs and services for an increasing number of households. This development requires that fundamental decisions be made with regard to the spatial structure of these neighbourhoods. However, the consequences of these choices for matters such as sustainability and reduction of (auto)mobility are not always clear.

Planning and design of these new developments is often based on assumptions on the relationships between urban structure and travel behaviour. In the Netherlands several examples can be found of developments designed to generate less (car)travel and higher use ofnon-motorised transport, e.g. the GWL-site in Amsterdam, the Groothandelsmarkt in The Hague or the growth centre of Houten. However, their design has mainly been based on considered reasoning concerning the relationship between urban form and people's travel behaviour, this relationship has hardly been validated empirically.

In the academic world there is also an interest in the nature of the relationship between travel behaviour and urban structure. Opinions on the matter differ widely. While some scholars provide empirical evidence that 'good' urban planning can successfully influence travel behaviour [N~ess, 1995], others also provide empirical evidence substantiating the opposite; that the effect of urban structure on travel patterns is limited at best, unless major boundaries are crossed [Timmermans & van der Waerdan, 1997].

Handy [1997], publishing an extensive bibliography on this subject, concluded that the most popular assumptions and beliefs about the relationship between urban structure and travel behaviour are generally supported by empirical studies. This is in particular the case for the effects of density. Other recurring findings include the inability to consistently demonstrate the positive effects of mixed land use and occurrence of shorter trips but higher shares of car use as a result ofa decentralisafion of jobs. With regard to the overall structure of the city, it is often concluded that polycentric forms result in fewer trips, shorter trips and less energy use than monocentric and dispersed forms.

The research conducted to date does not provide all the answers to (Dutch) policy makers and designers. Most of the studies focus on either urban characteristics at a large scale and total vehicle miles travelled, or on small scale neighbourhoods in detailed case studies including only a few neighbourhoods. Rarely are these scales combined in a single study, making it impossible to predict the effects planning and design choices have within the development itself and the city or region as a whole. Moreover, there is the problem of differences between countries. Most of the results do not necessarily apply to the Netherlands. The physical and cultural organisation of Dutch cities differs from cities abroad in many ways. Most notable in this respect is the use of the bicycle in our country.

This research project attempts to offer a solution to these shortcomings by collecting data, specific to Dutch cities. In the autumn of 1997 an extensive survey was held, collecting activity and trip data in several neighbourhoods in 9 Dutch cities across the country. This paper reports the results of multivariate analysis of the data. In particular we focus on the mode choice for four types of frequently made trips, e.g. home-to-work trips, grocery shopping trips, other shopping trips and recurring trips for sports and/or club activities.

All trip data studied concerned home-based trips. The paper can be seen as a follow-up on a previous paper [Snellen et.ai., 1998], which dealt with the first preliminary results of bivariate analysis of the data.

This paper is structured as follows. In the next section the research approach will be discussed. Hypotheses will be formulated, the data collection will be outlined and the some technical aspects of the analysis will be addressed. Next, the results of the analysis will be described and interpreted, and finally conclusions are drawn.

Publisher

Association for European Transport