Neighborhood Services, Trip Purpose, and Tour-Based Travel
Communities are increasingly looking to land use planning strategies to reduce drive-alone travel. Many planning efforts aim to develop neighborhoods with higher levels of accessibility that will allow residents to shop closer to home and drive fewer miles. To better understand how accessible land use patterns relate to household travel behavior, this paper is divided into three sections. The first section describes the typical range of services available in areas with high neighborhood accessibility. It explains how trip-based travel analysis is limited because it does not consider the linked (chained) nature of most travel. The second section describes a framework that provides a more behavioral understanding of household travel. This framework highlights travel tours, the sequence of trips that begin and end at home, as the basic unit of analysis. The paper offers a typology of travel tours to account for different travel purposes; by doing so, this typology helps understand tours relative to the range of services typically offered in accessible neighborhoods. The final section empirically analyzes relationships between tour type and neighborhood access using detailed travel data from the Central Puget Sound region (Seattle, Washington). Households living in areas with higher levels of neighborhood access are found to complete more tours and make fewer stops per tour. They make more simple tours (out and back) for work and maintenance (personal, appointment, and shopping) trip purposes but there is no difference in the frequency of other types of tours. While they travel shorter distances for maintenance-type errands, a large portion of their maintenance travel is still pursued outside the neighborhood. These findings suggest that while higher levels of neighborhood access influences travel tours, it does not spur households to complete the bulk of their errands close to home.