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The HUPMOBILE project utilized in a Master’s Thesis

The HUPMOBILE project team is happy to announce that based on the research activities of the HUPMOBILE project, Ms. Leila Soinio has written a superb Master Thesis “The role of built environment characteristic and residential self-selection on car use and active travel” as part of her studies at the spatial planning and transport engineering master’s programme at the Aalto University, Finland. The Thesis was completed and submitted in May 2021 and is available now for everyone to read.  

In her thesis, Ms. Soinio discovered that robust correlations between several built environment characteristics and travel mode choice have been established in the travel behaviour literature. However, the majority of the studies have not considered the possible confounding role of travel-related attitudes and preferences, i.e., a hypothesis also known as residential self-selection. Omitting the possibility that residents may choose their residential location based on travel attitudes and preferences may exaggerate the effect of the built environment on travel behaviour. Consequently, this may lead to flawed estimations of the impact of land-use policies on travel.

This thesis investigates the relationship between built environment characteristics, travel attitudes, and travel behaviour in the Finnish context. The aim is to examine, to what extent are built environment and attitudes associated with car use, walking, and cycling. The data was collected in early 2020 from residents in the Turku region with an online survey. In total 472 responses were eligible for this study. The research methods include factor and cluster analyses, statistical tests, and multiple linear regression models. Read more about the HUPMOBILE report on the study.

According to the results, both built environment characteristics, measured by an aggregate measure urban zone of residence, and travel-related attitudes and preferences are related to differences in car use, walking, and cycling. However, living in an intensive transit zone was found to have an independent negative association with car use and a positive association with walking once the attitudes and socio-demographics were accounted for. For cycling, such associations were not found. In addition, car ownership is positively associated with car use and negatively associated with walking and cycling.

The results indicate, that living in an intensive transit zone is likely to increase walking and decrease car use even among those residents, who have car-oriented attitudes and preferences. Furthermore, a positive attitude towards sustainable modes of travel is likely to increase levels of active transportation in all kinds of urban zones. These results highlight the need for land use and transportation policies and measures, which enable more people to live in intensive transit zones, and target changing residents’ attitudes towards sustainable modes of travel.

Read the full thesis here: