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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Street network connectivity and local travel behaviour: assessing the relationship of travel outcomes to disparate pedestrian and vehicular street network connectivity Hawkins, Christopher


This research investigated the association of street network connectivity differences across travel modes with travel behaviour – mode choice, distance traveled and number of trips. To date research on travel behaviour relationships with urban form has not developed empirical evidence on street designs as distinct networks for walking and driving. A street network having greater connectivity and continuity for the pedestrian mode of travel vis-à-vis the vehicular network, like the Fused Grid, will likely encourage more walking. This hypothesis was investigated using a quasi-experimental approach within a rational utility behavioural framework. Local travel behaviour is theorized to be affected by desire to access goods and services (broadly termed, ‘activities’) in the community where people live. Using inferential statistics, the research tested for relationships between measured street patterns and self-reported local travel by King County, WA households. The main variables were ratios (walking : driving) of network connectivity and density, in the vicinity of travel survey households. Demographics and household characteristics, as well as other behaviourally influential urban form factors (residential density, proximity of destinations, etc.), were included in regression models, allowing control for confounding factors. Findings suggest that street networks with connectivity that provides better routing for one mode of transportation over others encourage more travel by the favored mode. The regression model demonstrated that a change from a pure small-block grid to a modified grid (i.e. Fused Grid) can result in an 11.3% increase in odds of a home-based trip being walked. The modified street pattern like a Fused Grid is also associated with a 25.9% increase, over street patterns with equivalent route directness for walking and driving, in the odds a person will meet recommended levels of physical activity. Finally, the Fused Grid’s 10% increase in relative connectivity for pedestrians is associated with a 23% decrease in local vehicle travel distance (VMT), and its improved continuity is associated with increased walking trips and distance. Conclusions: Other factors being equal, residential street networks with either more direct routing for pedestrians or more pedestrian facilities relative to vehicular network are associated with improved odds of walking and reduced odds of driving.

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