Analyzing Changes in Urban Form and Commuting Time

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Abstract:

Urban work trips have changed in important ways during the last decades. In Québec City, a medium-sized Canadian metropolitan area, commuting distances increased for both male and female workers between 1977 and 1996, while durations increased for male workers and decreased for female workers. This article seeks to identify spatial and social factors responsible for these changes. We develop a disaggregate model of trip duration estimated on the basis of large samples derived from travel surveys comparable through time. Using categorical variables to specify change, we are able to separate change effects from level effects attributable to various dimensions of urban form. Our analysis clearly indicates that, once travel mode and key social factors are controlled for, the shift from a monocentric to a dispersed city form is responsible, in the Québec metropolitan area, for increasing commuting time. This is contrary to findings in larger metropolitan areas, where, it has been argued, the suburbanization of jobs maintains stability in commuting duration.

Keywords: accessibility; commuting time; structural change; urban form

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0033-0124.5504004

Affiliations: Université Laval

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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