The relationship between urban form and mode choice in US and Mexican cities: A comparative analysis of workers’ commutes
Keywords:Transportation and urban form, mode choice
This paper examines empirical relationships among commuters’ mode choice, metropolitan urban form, and socioeconomic attributes in the 100 largest urban areas in the United States and Mexico. Fitting multinomial logit models to data for more than 5 million commuters and their home urban area, we find several consistent relationships and several important differences in relationships among urban form and travel behavior. In both countries, urban residents living in housing types associated with more centrally located housing in more densely populated urban areas with less roadway are less likely to commute by private vehicle than similar residents in other housing types and other urban areas. In addition to some differences in the strength, significance, and signs of several predictor variables, we find large differences in elasticity estimates across contexts. In particular, the US’s high rates of driving and generally car-friendly urban form mean that even dramatic shifts in urban form or income result in only small predicted changes in the probability of commuting by private vehicle. We conclude that land use and transportation policies likely have a more substantial role in shaping commute patterns in countries like Mexico than in countries like the US.
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