As of October 1, 2016, the SWUTC concluded its 28 years of operation and is no longer an active center of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The archived SWUTC website remains available here.

465650-1 Report Abstract

The Effectiveness of Land Use Policies as a Strategy for Reducing Automobile Dependence: A Study of Austin Neighborhoods

Susan L. Handy, Kelly Clifton, Janice Fisher, University of Texas at Austin, October 1998, 132 pp. (465650-1)

Planners and urban designers are increasingly concerned with the question of how alternative forms of development affect travel patterns and with the more specific question of how development might be shaped so as to reduce automobile dependence. The nature of suburban development is seen as a cause of automobile dependence and so a change in the nature of suburban development is seen as a possible solution. Efforts to promote infill and mixed-use development and calls for neo-traditional forms of development are based on the assumption that these types of developments will help to reduce automobile dependence and increase walking, biking, and transit.

The work described in this report represents an effort to better understand the link between urban form and travel behavior and to evaluate the potential effectiveness of land use policies as a strategy for reducing automobile dependence. This work builds on previous research in this area but attempts to go beyond it by exploring the motivations for travel as well as the patterns of travel. Travel surveys and focus groups were used to study the travel choices of residents of six case study neighborhoods in Austin, Texas. The results suggest that the role urban form plays in travel behavior is not entirely straightforward, sometimes influencing travel choices directly, sometimes indirectly, sometimes influencing choices in the short term, sometimes the long term, and sometimes not having any measurable influence on choices at all. In the end, it appears that certain land use policies can help to provide alternatives to driving, but that the reduction in driving is likely to be small.

Keywords: Land Use Policies, Automobile Dependence, Travel Patterns, Travel Behavior, Travel Choices

Report not available electronically.
To order free hardcopy – email [email protected] 
or call (979)845-5815
Reference Report #465650-1