Handbook on Transport and Development
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Handbook on Transport and Development

Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister

This Handbook provides an extensive overview of the relationships between transport and development. With 45 chapters from leading international authors, the book is organised in three main parts: urban structure and travel; transport and spatial impacts; and wider dimensions in transport and development. The chapters each present commentary on key issues within these themes, presenting the debate on the impacts of urban structure on travel, the impacts of transport investment on development, and social and cultural change on travel. A multitude of angles are considered – leaving the reader with a comprehensive and critical understanding of the field.
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Chapter 2: Urban structure and travel

Philip Stoker, Susan Petheram and Reid Ewing


Does urban structure influence travel? The theory of environmental or architectural determinism ascribes great importance to the physical environment as a determinant of travel behavior. The counter view is that social and economic factors are the main, or even exclusive, drivers of travel behavior. If urban structure plays a role in determining travel behavior patterns, then the way we design and build neighborhoods, cities, and regions are contributing factors. The degree to which urban structure determines human travel behavior, however, remains a long-running debate in urban planning research. Recent and historic advances reflect the complexity of the relationship between urban structure and travel. This chapter presents a review of the literature, major findings, remaining questions, and conclusions. We first synthesize findings regarding the impacts of urban structure on travel at the regional (macro) scale, followed by those at the neighbourhood (mezzo) scale. The hypothesis of this chapter is decidedly environmental and deterministic in its outlook: urban structure significantly influences travel. The objective of synthesizing the historic and current literature is to offer perspectives on the scale of urban structure’s influence and the conditions under which its impact is greatest. While most of the literature and examples are from the US, relevant international literature is drawn upon when available, including studies from the United Kingdom and Australia.

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