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Urban form and driving: Evidence from US cities

Gilles Duranton and Matthew A. Turner

Journal of Urban Economics, 2018, vol. 108, issue C, 170-191

Abstract: We estimate the effect of urban form on driving. We match the best available travel survey for the us to spatially disaggregated national maps that describe population density and demographics, sectoral employment and land cover, among other things. To address inference problems related to sorting and endogenous density, we develop an estimator that relies on an assumption of imperfect mobility and exploit quasi-random variation in subterranean geology. The data suggest that increases in density cause small decreases in individual driving. Applying our estimates to the observed distribution of density and driving in the us suggests that plausible densification policies cause decreases in aggregate driving that are small, both absolutely and relative to what might be expected from gas taxes or congestion charging.

Keywords: Urban form; Vehicle-kilometers traveled; Congestion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L91 R41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:108:y:2018:i:c:p:170-191