Disentangling the impacts of the built environment and self-selection on travel behavior: An empirical study in the context of different housing types


Due to spatial heterogeneity worldwide, results from studies examining the effect of residential self-selection on travel behavior vary substantially. As a result of housing reform, the unique housing allocation system in China is a prime example of a context where the self-selection effect may conflict with international knowledge. Using a sample of 3836 residents, whom are living in Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and non-TOD neighborhoods in Shanghai, this study untangles the effects that the built environment and residential self-selection have on travel behavior, in the context of diversified housing types in urban China. Specifically, this paper employs propensity score matching (PSM) to quantitate the relative importance of the built environment itself, verses residential self-selection, in influencing travel behavior for each of the housing types. The results show that the residential self-selection effect in the four types of housing (work-unit, commodity, public, and replacement) accounts for 15.2%, 30.7%, 18.5%, and 5.9% of the total impact on vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT), respectively. These findings expand the international database of point estimates in the relative contribution of self-selection toward the impact on travel behavior across global contexts, providing a comprehensive framework for similar studies on self-selection in other parts of the world.
Last updated on 06/08/2021