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Does the built environment shape commuting? The case of Lyon (France)

Abstract : Is built environment the most influential factor on travel behavior when compared to individual socioeconomic characteristics? This paper extends the empirical knowledge by providing and comparing quantitative estimates of these various effects on both commuting distance and mode choice in a European city spatial context, while using up-to-date and novel methodology. Eight indicators of built and social environment are identified in order to characterize clusters of residential locations, giving a rich view of spatial and social diversity of locations. To disentangle the causal effects of residential self selection and built environment, both sample selection and specific matching preprocessing ("coarsened exact matching", a novel approach in the field) are implemented. Regarding commuting distance, the true effect of built and social environment appears modest with an increase in the range of 10-20%. It comes behind individual socioeconomic characteristics such as car availability and qualification. Regarding commuting mode choice, again the true effect of built and social environment is modest, with a nearly 20%pt increase of car share and around 10%pt decrease or public transport share for the most prominent effects, and it comes behind car availability. These results suggest the primary importance of influencing directly car use, if not car ownership, in the European context, while trying to modify the built environment would provide only limited results.
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Contributor : Martine Sefsaf <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 1:44:10 PM
Last modification on : Friday, May 7, 2021 - 3:28:11 AM


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Charles Raux, Ayana Lamatkhanova, Lény Grassot. Does the built environment shape commuting? The case of Lyon (France). Cybergeo : Revue européenne de géographie / European journal of geography, UMR 8504 Géographie-cités, 2021, Espace, Société, Territoire, ⟨10.4000/cybergeo.36629⟩. ⟨halshs-03010833v2⟩



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