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Urban form, travel behavior, and travel satisfaction

Kostas Mouratidis, Dick Ettema and Petter Næss

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2019, vol. 129, issue C, 306-320

Abstract: The relationship between the built environment and travel satisfaction has not been adequately explored in previous research. This study examines how urban form affects travel satisfaction using survey and interview data from Oslo metropolitan area, which is a good case for such a study since compact and sprawled urban forms are found to a large extent in the same city region. Results suggest that commute satisfaction as well as leisure travel satisfaction are significantly higher for residents of compact urban neighborhoods than those of sprawled suburbs. The article further focuses on commute satisfaction and finds that this difference is mainly due to differences in (a) trip duration and (b) travel modal split between the two urban form types. (a) Shorter distances to the city center and higher neighborhood densities are associated with significantly lower trip duration to work or education. This lower trip duration experienced by compact-city residents significantly contributes to their higher travel satisfaction. (b) Significant differences in the impact of travel mode on travel satisfaction, controlling for trip duration, are found. From most to least pleasant, travel modes are evaluated as follows: (1) walk, (2) bike and train, (3) bus, tram and metro, and (4) car. These differences contribute to the higher travel satisfaction found in compact neighborhoods, since residents of compact neighborhoods use active travel modes (walking and cycling) to a high extent and the car to a low extent, while suburban residents walk and cycle significantly less and use the car significantly more. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that compact-city policies and car restrictions that are currently applied or planned to be applied in several cities worldwide can have a positive impact on travel satisfaction as they lead to shorter trip durations and more active travel compared with urban sprawl policies.

Keywords: Built environment; Travel satisfaction; Urban form; Commute time; Travel mode; Travel behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2019.09.002

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