, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 627–646 | Cite as

The effect of neighbourhood characteristics, accessibility, home–work location, and demographics on commuting distances

  • Kevin Manaugh
  • Luis F. Miranda-Moreno
  • Ahmed M. El-GeneidyEmail author


The goal of this paper is to better understand home-to-work travel distances throughout the Montréal Metropolitan region. A simultaneous equation modelling analysis is carried out to jointly explain commuter trip length and home–work location as a function of neighbourhood typologies, commuter socio-demographics and measures of job and worker accessibility. First, a factor and cluster analysis of urban form is performed over the entire region on a fine-scale grid pattern. The outcome of this analysis is the classification of typologies at both home and job locations. Different measures of accessibility and commuter socio-demographics are then incorporated into the analysis. Varied data sources including a detailed Montréal Origin–Destination Survey on over 30,000 home-to-work automobile trips are analyzed. Among other results, commuters that live and work in a different sub-region almost double the average trip distance and although socio-economic factors have a statistically significant correlation with commuter distance, these factors have a marginal effect. Interestingly, our results highlight the importance of urban form and job accessibility. Deciding on whether to live and work in the same sub-region was modelled as an endogenous binary random utility model; unobserved heterogeneities seem to be simultaneously influencing both the home–work location choice and trip-to-work distances. Our results underscore the importance of home–work location with respect to urban form and job accessibility. Hence, policies that support more dense and mixed land-use in suburban areas would not be enough to reduce commuter distances. These actions should be accompanied by other policy initiatives to discourage long car trips.


Commuting distance Travel behaviour Neighbourhood typology Home–work location Modelling Accessibility measures 



The authors acknowledge the financial support of the NSERC Discovery Grant. Special thanks also goes to AMT for providing access to the Montréal Origin–Destination used in this analysis and the MTQ, who provided regional travel times. Assumpta Cerda prepared the regional accessibility measures. All errors and the views expressed in this research, however, are solely ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Manaugh
    • 1
  • Luis F. Miranda-Moreno
    • 2
  • Ahmed M. El-Geneidy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Urban PlanningMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Applied MechanicsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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