Built Environment and Car Travel
Analyses of Interdependencies
An academic and policy debate has been running in recent decades on whether
and to what extent travel behaviour is influenced by the built environment.
This dissertation addresses the influence on daily travel distance, chaining
behaviour, car ownership, and car commuting. As cars are the dominant mode
of transport, car travel received most attention. The analyses were based on
a comprehensive dataset collected in the North Wing of the Randstad in the
Netherlands. The study findings indicate that a more compact urban structure
reduces car use. However, the effects are small. One important lesson is that
behavioural mechanisms are never simple but invariably elicit compensation.
The challenge facing planners is to design cities and neighbourhoods that make
it easier to drive less and that are attractive to live in.