Travel Minimisation and the 'Neighbourhood'
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Since the 1940’s planners have pursued the notion of the ‘neighbourhood’ and of ‘self-containment’, both aimed at achieving local trip making. It is arguable that transit oriented development is a reincarnation of these ideas. Both concepts appear strongly relevant today in the context of sustainability and travel minimisation. But to what extent do residents actually minimise travel, and what type of resident? Our research investigates the population groups living within three station precincts along a new suburban railway through southern Perth suburbs to Mandurah (Western Australia). We examine the place of travel minimisation (in terms of car-based travel) in the residents’ decision to locate to the precinct and in the subsequent travel patterns of residents. Using travel diaries we report on the differences by household type, exploring also how the household negotiates travel reduction, and on the differences between work and non-work travel.The paper evaluates the travel impact of different accessibility opportunities ranging from congenial configurations of railway station precincts, containing a variety of shops, services, and other attractions to station precincts acting primarily as origin stations or transit interchanges. We explore the relationship between travel patterns and access to different activity opportunities. Rich factual data about travel, physical activity, relocation, and valuation of neighbourhood features is complemented by a stated choice experiment on location decision. There is evidence suggesting that accessibility features affect the willingness to use non-motorised travel and conduct more physical activity, and this relation is stronger for residents who appreciate the physical characteristics of their neighbourhood. There are also linkages between residential choice, trip chaining, and the household type. We expect our conclusions to show that where local opportunities are provided people do reduce travel, but that this is tempered by socio-demographic characteristics. This research will provide much needed empirical evidence to support future city planning decisions through the integration of land use and sustainable transport modes.
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