First Advisor

Kelly J. Clifton

Date of Publication

Winter 3-7-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Urban land use, Pedestrians, Choice of transportation, Urban transportation



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 179 pages)


Smart growth policies have often emphasized the importance of land use mix as an intervention beholding of lasting urban planning and public health benefits. Past transportation-land use research has identified potential efficiency gains achieved by mixed-use neighborhoods and the subsequent shortening of trip lengths; whereas, public health research has accredited increased land use mixing as an effective policy for facilitating greater physical activity. However, despite the celebrated transportation, land use, and health benefits of improved land use mixing and the extent of topical attention, no consensus has been reached regarding the conceptualization and measurement of this key smart growth principle or the magnitude of its link to walking. This dissertation, comprised of three empirical studies, explores this topic in detail.

In the first study, activity-based transportation and landscape ecology theory contributed to the introduction of a multifaceted land use mix construct reflected by a set of composition and configuration indicators. This activity-related land use mix construct, and not the commonly used entropy index, was a significant built environmental determinant of walk mode choice and home-based walk trip frequency. In the second study, structural equation modeling was used to establish a connection between residing in a smart growth neighborhood and home-based pedestrian travel. This study discovered a multidimensional depiction of the traveler's residential environment that was reflective of local land use mix, employment concentration, and pedestrian-oriented design. The second-order factor, which described a smart growth neighborhood, had a strong and positive effect on the household-level decision to walk for transportation-related and discretionary travel when assessed in a multidirectional conceptual framework.

In the final study, the influence of geographic scale selection on the connection between the built environment and active and auto-related travel was explored. Informed by this sensitivity analysis, which underlined the existence of scaling and zoning effects, mode choice for both work and nonwork travel as a function of individual, household, transportation, and built environment features at the home location and destination was modeled. These discrete choice analysis results found that measures of land use mix and density at each trip end had the strongest effect on the decision to walk rather drive or ride in a vehicle for nonwork trips. In all, the findings from this dissertation provide policymakers and practitioners greater specificity in the measurement of land use mix and its connection to pedestrian travel behavior.


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Created for National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), Report NITC-DIS-973.

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