Date of Award

Winter 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil & Environmental Engineering

Committee Director

Asad J. Khattak

Committee Member

Mecit Cetin

Committee Member

ManWo Ng


As a sustainable urban development and transportation planning strategy, researchers and planners are increasingly interested in transit-oriented development (TOD). By integrating transit system and neighborhood design, TOD aims to provide a livable environment that is alternative mode friendly, higher density, and mixed-use to residents and workers in the vicinity of transit stations. Despite the recent growing interest in TOE), however, transportation benefits of TOD are not well quantified and characteristics of TOD are not adequately reflected in travel demand models.

This dissertation contributes to understanding of the travel and activity behavior by comprehensively exploring them in the context of TOD. Key dimensions of the behavior identified and analyzed in this study are activity location, travel mode use, activity time allocation, location choice and sequence, and commute time and schedule delay. With a strong research design of comparing TOD (0.5 mile buffer areas around transit stations) with auto-oriented development (AOD) that features relatively low density and mainly residential use, behavioral differences in each dimension were hypothesized and tested. Focusing on the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, this study used the state of the art address-based household travel survey (N=11,436). The validity of the data was systematically checked for 1) non-coverage errors due to recently increasing mobile phone-only households and 2) trip underreporting as measurement errors. The data appropriateness was confirmed.

Rigorous statistical models were estimated at the household, person, trip, and activity levels, ranging from a local neighborhood to regional space. Results suggest that the travel and activity behavior between TOD and AOD contexts is significantly different. Key findings are that TOD residents tends to 1) make fewer and shorter automobile trips, but use transit more and walk more for their daily travel, 2) participate in out-of-home activities and sequence the activity locations centered on transit stations, and 3) commute more reliably (less variant travel time and more on-time arrival by using a subway or walking), compared to AOD residents. These are largely attributed to the characteristics of the integrated built and transportation environments (e.g., mixed-use, high density, walkable design, accessibility, and/or connectivity). Implications of the findings for sustainable urban development, travel demand modeling, and geographical travel time reliability are discussed.


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