Do Residents of Smart Growth Neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California, Travel “Smarter”?

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With the individual trip diary from the recent 2009 National Household Travel Survey, a study was done on the effect of neighborhood-level smart growth patterns and socioeconomic diversity on commute mode choice, daily work travel mode choice, and nonwork travel mode choice for individuals living in neighborhoods in the Los Angeles, California, metropolitan statistical area. Model results consistently showed that nonauto transportation infrastructure diversity and quality were the most important aspects of smart growth patterns that affected the choice of nonauto travel modes. Moreover, housing mix in a neighborhood increased the likelihood of choosing walking and cycling for daily work trips and daily nonwork trips. The socioeconomic diversity of a neighborhood reduced the likelihood of choosing walking and cycling for daily nonwork trips. The remaining two factors—residential density and mixed use—insignificantly affected travel mode choice. Overall, people living in smart growth neighborhoods in Los Angeles do travel smarter, in that they use environmentally more sustainable (bus and train) and healthier (walking and cycling) travel modes.