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Existing research continues to debate the existence and strength of the land use-transportation relationship. Research efforts have tested this relationship in numerous residential settings; however, non-residential venues like workplaces, shopping centers etc. have received less attention. This study examines this relationship at an under-researched setting--the workplace. It sheds light on the effect that certain components of the built environment at the workplace, namely density, diversity and design, have on travel behavior in a three-county region of Southeast Florida. The study is cross-sectional in nature and uses logistic regression to evaluate the probability of driving alone (DA) to work as a function of the built environment of the workplace while controlling for (a) regional accessibility; (b) density at the home setting; (c) employee's household and personal characteristics; and (d) job characteristics. The study did not find the built environment at the workplace to significantly influence commute mode choice. Although it found that directions of association for density, diversity and design were as expected, none were significant. Only one design dimension measuring the proportion of high speed roads within a one-mile radial area from the workplace was significant. Control variables related to employees' household, personal and job characteristics such as age, income, being a government employee and using a vehicle as part of the job also had a significant influence on driving alone to work. The results of this analysis do not match results of previous studies that found the built environment to be influential on commute mode choice. This may be partly due to differences in history, geography and urban form and structure between this study's region and those of previous studies. With an intensely autocentric regional fabric, a culture of fast urbanism seems to prevail in Southeast Florida. Hence, any change in travel behavior away from solo driving toward more environmentally friendly commute modes such as carpooling, transit riding, walking or cycling would require sizable changes in the existing built environment. Since these changes may be difficult to achieve in the near future, in order to influence commute mode choice in this region, policy makers may have to strongly rely on travel demand management strategies that complement smart-growth and transit oriented policies designed to alter the built environment, particularly in and around employment centers.
Built Environment, Commute Mode Choice, Drive Alone, Land Use, Travel Behavior, Southeast Florida
Date of Defense
October 9, 2009.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jeffrey Brown, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; Ivonne Audirac, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; Mark Horner, University Representative; Gregory Thompson, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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