Residential self-selection in the built environment-travel behavior connection: Whose self-selection?

Xiaodong Guan, Donggen Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    Residential self-selection has been acknowledged as a key issue underlining the link between the built environment and travel behavior. Existing studies often implicitly assume that residential choice is a decision of an individual and the influence of intra-household interactions is not considered. In reality, residential choice is a decision often made at the household-level involving more than one household members. Similarly, car ownership is usually a household-level decision incorporating views of different household members. In both cases, the travel related attitudes of more than one household members may play a role in the decision making. In other words, there is an issue concerning residential self-selection (similarly car ownership self-selection): whose self-selection? This paper makes an attempt to probe into this question by examining the self-selection issues concerning residential location choice and car ownership decision from the perspective of households, by incorporating the travel attitudes and travel behaviors of two household heads into an integrated self-selection framework. Data are derived from a household sample survey involving two-day activity-travel diaries conducted in 2016 in Beijing, China. Multivariate modeling results show that household members play different roles in household decisions with travel implications: in general husbands’ travel attitudes have relatively more influence in residential choice and car ownership decision than wives’. Nevertheless, wives’ travel attitudes have more power than husbands’ in explaining the commuting distances of both husbands and wives. Some distinct features of the residential and car ownership self-selections in the Chinese context are also identified and discussed in this paper.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-32
    Number of pages17
    JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Transportation
    • Environmental Science(all)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • China
    • Intra-household interactions
    • Residential self-selection
    • The built environment
    • Travel behavior


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