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Walking to the Station: The Effects of Urban Form on Walkability and Transit Ridership

The proposed research addresses the impacts of urban form on transit ridership, in general, and the relationship between public transportation and walking, in particular. Urban form is defined in terms of three core dimensions: densities, land use patterns, and street networks. Existing literature suggests that population, employment and development densities (Holtzclaw 1994; Quade and Douglas Inc. 1996b; Cervero 1996); number of non-residential destinations and the mix of land uses (Cervero 2002; Kockelman 1997); density of street networks (Moudon et al. 2006; Handy 1996); and attitudinal factors (Kitamura et al. 1997; Krizek 2000) support walking and contribute to transit ridership.

The aim of the thesis is to contribute to a clearer understanding of the many ways in which urban form affects the decision to use public transportation and to walk to/from station after controlling for a multitude of factors, such as density, land-use mix, household income, car ownership, and the effect of walking distance from transit station. The underlying hypothesis being tested is that environments that are connected so as to support different kinds of walking also support public transportation. The focus is specifically on the relationship between public transportation and walking.