PUBLICATION

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MTI Report 07-02
Neighborhood Crime and Travel Behavior: An Investigation of the Influence of Neighborhood Crime Rates on Mode Choice
Principal Investigator: Christopher E. Ferrell, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT

While much attention has been given to the influence of urban form on travel behavior in recent years, little work has been done on how neighborhood crimes affect this dynamic. This research project studied seven San Francisco Bay Area cities, and found substantiation for the proposition that neighborhood crime rates have an influence on the propensity to choose non-automotive modes of transportation for home-based trips. Specifically, high vice and vagrancy crime rates were associated with a lowered probability of choosing transit in suburban cities for both work and non-work trips, high property crime rates were associated with a lower probability of walking for work trips in urban cities and inner-ring suburban cities, high violent crime rates with a lower probability of walking for work trips in suburban study cities, while higher property crime rates in San Francisco were associated with an increased probability of walking for non-work trips. While the signs of these significant relationships generally conformed to the author’s expectations—i.e., that high crime rates reduce the probability of choosing non-automotive modes of travel—the authors did not find statistically significant relationships for all city/trip model runs, suggesting that these relationships differ depending on the urban form and trip type contexts.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Christopher E. Ferrell, Ph.D.

Dr. Christopher Ferrell began his planning career in 1995 working for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) on Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) applications for traffic management. Since 2000, he has worked as a transportation consultant since 2000 for Dowling Associates, Inc. Dr. Ferrell completed his doctoral studies in City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley in 2005. His studies focus on the relationships between transportation and land use. His research experience includes the evaluation of transit facilities, transportation policy analysis, transportation and land use interactions, travel behavior, and the analysis of institutional structures. As a practitioner, he has developed traffic impact studies for mixed-use, infill and transit-oriented projects, analyzed the impacts of specific and general plans and planned and implemented intelligent transportation systems, and developed bicycle and pedestrian plans. He is currently researching revisions to the City of San Francisco’s environmental impact analysis significance thresholds. He has also taught several quantitative methods classes in the San José State University Urban Planning Department.

Shishir Mathur, Ph.D.

Shishir Mathur is an assistant professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Department at San José State University. He has a masters degree (1997) in Urban Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India, and a Ph.D. (2003) in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington. His professional experience in planning includes work in India and the United States as a consultant, researcher, and instructor. His work in India included consulting in the fields of physical and land-use planning, infrastructure planning, and urban design. His work in the United States includes research and teaching in the fields of public finance, urban economics, housing, land-use policy, infrastructure planning and finance, strategic planning, and systems analysis.

Emilia Mendoza

Emy is a postgraduate student in the Urban and Regional Planning Department at San José State University. Her professional interests include regional planning, transportation, community development and housing for low income communities, and GIS applications for urban and regional planning.

TECHNICAL

MTI Report 07-02
Neighborhood Crime and Travel Behavior: An Investigation of the Influence of Neighborhood Crime Rates on Mode Choice
Principal Investigator: Christopher E. Ferrell, Ph.D
Published: August 2008
Keywords: Crimes; Property crimes; Travel behavior; Travel by mode
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