, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 37–54 | Cite as

Urban form, travel time, and cost relationships with tour complexity and mode choice

  • Lawrence FrankEmail author
  • Mark Bradley
  • Sarah Kavage
  • James Chapman
  • T. Keith Lawton


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate how relative associations between travel time, costs, and land use patterns where people live and work impact modal choice and trip chaining patterns in the Central Puget Sound (Seattle) region. By using a tour-based modeling framework and highly detailed land use and travel data, this study attempts to add detail on the specific land use changes necessary to address different types of travel, and to develop a comparative framework by which the relative impact of travel time and urban form changes can be assessed. A discrete choice modeling framework adjusted for demographic factors and assessed the relative effect of travel time, costs, and urban form on mode choice and trip chaining characteristics for the three tour types. The tour based modeling approach increased the ability to understand the relative contribution of urban form, time, and costs in explaining mode choice and tour complexity for home and work related travel. Urban form at residential and employment locations, and travel time and cost were significant predictors of travel choice. Travel time was the strongest predictor of mode choice while urban form the strongest predictor of the number of stops within a tour. Results show that reductions in highway travel time are associated with less transit use and walking. Land use patterns where respondents work predicted mode choice for mid day and journey to work travel.


Urban form Travel time Mode choice 



Body mass index


Floor area ratio


Home-based non-work/other


Home-based work


King county land use, transportation, air quality, and health study


Puget sound transportation panel


Puget sound regional council


Traffic analysis zone


Work-based other



Foremost, we thank the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for funding this study. We further acknowledge Ms. Jean Mabry, Ms. Kathy Lindquist, and Ms. Paula Reeves with WSDOT for input, direction, and guidance in this effort. Mr. Keith Lawton’s considerable assistance in formulating the study design and reviewing the work in various stages of completion was extremely helpful and is greatly appreciated. We thank the Puget Sound Regional Council for providing the travel survey data and King, Piece, Snohomish, and Kitsap Counties for the parcel data and Dr. Paul Waddell with the University of Washington for the enhancements to the parcel data used in this study. We thank Mr. Larry Blaine of the Puget Sound Region Council for his suggestions, feedback, and guidance throughout the project. We thank Dr. William Bachman for producing the shortest time path trip assignments used in our analyses. Mr. Chris Close is recognized for his efforts to develop the land use measures and to clean the parcel level land use data and for finding other sources of land use data to enable the study to proceed.


  1. Boarnet, M.G., Crane, R.: Travel by design: the influence of urban form on travel. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2001)Google Scholar
  2. TRB/IOM Committee on Physical Activity, Health, Transportation, and Land Use. Does the built environment influence physical activity? Examining the evidence. TRB Special Report, vol. 282 (2005)Google Scholar
  3. Ewing, R., Cervero, R.: Travel and the built environment: a synthesis. Transportation research record J. Transport. Res. Board 1780, 87–114 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Frank, L.D.: Land use and transportation interaction: Implications on public health and quality of life. J. Plann. Edu. Res. 20, 6–22 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Frank, L.D., Andresen, M.A., Schmid, T.L.: Obesity relationships with community design, physical activity, and time spent in cars. Am. J. Preve. Med. 27, 87–96 (2004) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Frank, L., Engelke, P., Schmid, T.: Health and community design: the impacts of the built environment on physical activity. Island Press, Washington, DC (2003)Google Scholar
  7. Frank, L.D., Pivo, G.: Impacts of mixed use and density on utilization of three modes of travel: single-occupant vehicle, transit, and walking. Transportation research record. J. Transport. Res. Board 1466, 44–52 (1995)Google Scholar
  8. Frank, L.D., Sallis, J.F., Chapman, J., Saelens, B.E.: Linking objectively measured physical activity with objectively measured urban form: findings from SMARTRAQ. Am. J. Preve. Med. 28(2), 117–125 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Frank, L., Sallis, J.F., Conway, T., Chapman, J., Saelens, B., Bachman, W.: Multiple pathways from land use to health: walkability associations with active transportation, body mass index, and air quality. J. Am. Plann Assoc. 72(1), 75–87 (2006)Google Scholar
  10. Frank L.D., Saelens, B., Powell, K.E., Chapman, J.: Stepping towards causation: do built environments or individuals preferences explain walking, driving, and obesity? Soc Sci Med. (2007). doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.05.053
  11. Handy, S., Cao, X., Mokhtarian, P.: Correlation or causality between the built environment and travel behavior? Evidence from Northern California. Transport. Res. D 10, 427–444 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Handy, S.: Travel behavior-land use interactions: an overview and assessment of the research. In: Mahmassini H.S. (ed.) Perpetual motion: travel behavior research opportunities and application challenges, pp. 223–236. Elsevier Science, Kidlington UK (2002)Google Scholar
  13. Jang, T.Y.: Causal relationship among travel mode, activity, and travel patterns. J. Transport. Eng. 129(1), 16–22 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Krizek, K.J.: Operationalizing Neighborhood accessibility for land use travel behavior research and regional modeling. J. Plann. Edu. Res. 22(3), 270–287 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lawrence Frank and Company, Inc., Sallis J., Saelens B., McCann Consulting, GeoStats LLC, Washbrook K.: A study of land use, transportation, air quality and health in King county, WA. King County Office of Regional Transportation Planning (2005)Google Scholar
  16. Lee C.: Activity-friendly communities: correlates of transportation or recreation walking, and correlates of physical activity for different sub-populations, Dissertation, Seattle: Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington. Seattle, WA (2004)Google Scholar
  17. Levine, J., Inam A., Torng, G.W.: A Choice-based rationale for land-use and transportation alternatives: evidence from Boston and Atlanta. J. Plann. Edu. Res. 24(1), 317–330 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Levine, J., Frank L.D.: Transportation (in press). DOI 10.1007/s11116–006-9104-6 (2006)Google Scholar
  19. Miller, E.J., Roorda, M.J., Carrasco, J.A.: A tour-based model of travel mode choice. Transportation 32(4), 399–422 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mitchell, R.B., Rapkin, C.: Urban traffic: a function of land use. Columbia University Press, New York (1954)Google Scholar
  21. Moudon, A.V., Lee, C.C., Collier, A.D., Johnson, C.W., Schmid, D., Thomas, L., Weather, R.D.: Cycling and the built environment, a US perspective. Transport. Res. D 10(3), 245–261 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Saelens, B.E., Sallis, J.F., Frank, L.D.: Environmental correlates of walking and cycling: Findings from the transportation, urban design, and planning literatures. Ann. Behav. Med. 25, 80–91 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sallis, J.F., Frank, L.D., Saelens, B.E., Kraft, M.K.: Active transportation and physical activity: Opportunities for collaboration on transportation and public health research. Transport Res. A Policy Pract. 38, 249–268 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shiftan, Y., Ben-Akiva, M., Proussaloglou, K., De Jong, G., Yasasvi, P., Kasturirangan, K., Bekhor, S.: Activity-based modeling as a tool for better understanding travel behaviour. Paper Presented at the 10th Conference of the International Association of Travel Behavior Research, Lucerne, Switzerland (2003)Google Scholar
  25. Unwin, D.J.: GIS, spatial analysis and spatial statistics. Prog. Hum. Geograp. 20(4), 540–441 (1996)Google Scholar
  26. Zhan, G., Nigel, H., Wilson, M.: Assessment of the transfer penalty for transit trips: geographic information system-based disaggregate modeling approach. Transport. Res. Rec. 1872 (2004)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Frank
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Bradley
    • 2
  • Sarah Kavage
    • 3
  • James Chapman
    • 3
  • T. Keith Lawton
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Community and Regional PlanningUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverUSA
  2. 2.Mark Bradley Research and ConsultingSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Lawrence Frank and Company, Inc.Point RobertsUSA
  4. 4.Keith Lawton ConsultingNewbergUSA

Personalised recommendations