Urban Spatial Structure and the Potential for Vehicle Miles Traveled Reduction

This research informs metropolitan land use planning by studying a heretofore understudied variation of land use – travel behavior interactions: how access to jobs in employment sub-centers influences household vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the five-county Los Angeles Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The authors used data from 2009 National Employment Time Series to identity employment sub-centers and data from the 2012 California Household Travel Survey to measure household VMT. The authors then modified a standard land use – travel behavior regression to include, as explanatory variables, measures of access to jobs that are in and not in employment sub-centers. Their results shows: (1) Accessibility to jobs outside employment sub-centers often has a larger impact on VMT than the accessibility to jobs inside the subcenters. (2) The effect of accessibility on household VMT varies in core counties and periphery counties. (3) Accessibility to jobs within 5 miles from a household’s residence has a larger association with household VMT than accessibility to jobs beyond 5 miles from the residence. (4) Moving a representative household from the centroid of Moreno Valley in Riverside County to the centroid of Koreatown in Los Angeles is associated to a 46.6 percent reduction for household-level VMT.