Residential Choice Theory and Sustainable Transit

Authors: Elyse Kats*, Arizona State, Deborah Salon, Arizona State University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Sustainability Science
Keywords: Home Choice, Residential Choice Theory, Sustainable Transit, Transportation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8223, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


How do transportation implications enter into people’s decision about where to live? This is the research question that we set out to investigate, using an interview-based, qualitative approach. It is important to understand the role of the transportation environment in the home choice process; if Americans are going to make sustainable transportation choices in their daily lives, their choice of where to live is critical. We conducted in-depth interviews with 15 households who had purchased homes within the past 2 years in the Phoenix, AZ metropolitan area, and obtained home-choice-in-brief stories for an additional 30 households from a local realtor. We then used these stories to put together a hypothesized decision tree to represent how Phoenix home buyers choose their homes. Each household had a unique home-choice process, but the decision tree analysis allowed us to uncover common themes and processes. Relative to transportation, most households did seek proximity to key destinations in their lives (i.e. jobs, family, friends, or particular schools), but many did not strongly prioritize their commute trip in making their home choice. Some looked for sustainable transportation mode access, such as a walkable neighborhood and transit nearby. Other considerations often led households to purchase homes in neighborhoods without these amenities, however. One surprising finding was the extent to which limited housing stock availability in neighborhoods with sustainable transportation options deterred homebuyers from even searching in these areas. This suggests that there is more demand for these neighborhoods than is reflected in actual home choices.

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