The Effect of Urban Land Use on Household Location and Travel Behavior

EPA Grant Number: FP916351
Title: The Effect of Urban Land Use on Household Location and Travel Behavior
Investigators: Anderson, Soren T.
Institution: University of Michigan
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $111,172
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Environmental Justice , Fellowship - Economics


Rapid urban expansion and related increases in vehicle travel have many adverse environmental effects. Smart growth (i.e., mixed land use development and the conservation of ecological land use resources) has been cited as one important solution. Unfortunately, studies that have sought to establish an empirical relationship between land use and household travel have failed to account for the dual causality between the two: land use may influence travel behavior, but households with predilections for certain behaviors also may choose to reside near particular land uses. Further, large tracts of preserved land may segment urban geography in ways that actually increase automobile use. The objective of my research is to address these issues by studying the effect of mixed land use development and land conservation on household travel behavior.


Using existing data, I will econometrically estimate the effect of surrounding land use on household travel behavior. The primary methodological contribution of my research will be to deal with the dual causality issue described above. The random utility model and extensions to the so-called mixed logit model of discrete choice provide a promising framework for dealing with this problem. For instance, transportation mode choice could be modeled as a two-stage decision where households first choose their residence and then choose their mode of transportation, conditional on their location. The advantage of this approach is that it explicitly incorporates the choice of travel mode into the choice of home location, allowing the effect of land use on travel behavior to be disentangled from the location decision.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, land use, smart growth, household travel behavior, transportation, automobile use, random utility model, mixed logit model of discrete choice, decision making,, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, POLLUTION PREVENTION, sustainable development, Ecology and Ecosystems, decision-making, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, environmental decision making, decision making, landowner behavior, environmental values, travel behavior, household choice, household location, land use

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • Final