Where and how should we build our homes? – Residential location, activity participation and travel behavior (RESACTRA)
The project “Where and how should we build our homes? – Residential location, activity participation and travel behavior” investigates how the location and neighborhood characteristics of dwellings in urban/metropolitan areas influence residents' travel behavior and related greenhouse gas emissions, level of physical activity and health. The project provides important input to land use planning in urban areas and brings inputs to on-going debates about "compact" and "green" cities as models for sustainable urban development. Considerable knowledge already exists about the links between residential location and travel, but there are still issues where present knowledge is incomplete or uncertain.
There is also lack of knowledge on how the type and location of residential areas affect the inhabitants' health by facilitating physical activity and/or exposing the m to health risks in their local environment. The project aims to dig deeper into the above-mentioned kinds of questions and thus to push the "research frontier" toward a better understanding of the role of residential area location and design in stimulating or discouraging sustainable mobility and public health. Among the issues where the project brings novel knowledge are:
• How do the influences of residential location on travel vary across different metropolitan contexts and for different travel purposes?
• How the backgrounds, motivations and justifications underlying choices of trip destinations and travel modes vary with trip purposes and across population groups
• The role of attitude-based residential self-selection in explaining geographical differences in travel behavior and car ownership
• Relationships between the location and neighborhood characteristics of residential areas and non-motorized travel, use of outdoor recreation areas, and selected health indicators
• Will the environmental gains from residential locations reducing daily-life car driving be counteracted by increased long-distance leisure travel?
The project combines qualitative and quantitative research methods, including field studies, qualitative interviews, questionnaire surveys and use of information from maps and register data. The Oslo and the Stavanger metropolitan areas are used as the main geographical cases, with additional studies conducted for the Trondheim and Bergen areas.
Meta-theoretical work on the causal nature of the built environment for travel behavior was completed by the spring of 2016, resulting in two peer-reviewed journal articles. Data collection in the Oslo and Stavanger city regions, including 33 qualitative interviews and a questionnaire survey with 3365 valid responses was completed in 2015.
The project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the role of residential area location and design in stimulating or discouraging sustainable mobility and public health
More about the project
The formal project period is from April 1, 2014 until March 31, 2017. Additional publishing (beyond the seven scientific papers published or submitted to journal within the end of the project period) will take place over the subsequent one or two years.
Institute of Transport Economics, Oslo and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis