Overlooked Destinations: Suburban Nodes, Centers, and Trips to Strips

Nico Larco, University of Oregon



This study looks at travel to typical suburban commercial strips by residents living within one-third of a mile of the strip by focusing on six sites – four in the Portland, OR., metro area and two in the Atlanta, GA., metro area. The study mapped pedsheds around the commercial strips in these sites and found significant increases in network extents when formal and informal pedestrian paths were added to street centerline data. Informal networks such as goat paths through vacant land and cuts in fences were widespread and suggest a pent-up demand for route directness. Travel surveys of residents found significant amounts of walking and biking in these areas – just over one-third of all trips to the commercial strip – with travel distance and walking along or across arterials affecting mode choice. This suggests network extent and connectivity to be a critical factor in increasing walking and biking in these suburban areas. Resident motivations behind mode choice included convenience (which mode is easiest); cost (active travel is less expensive than auto travel); and culture (a pattern of driving or active travel, regardless of ease or cost). There was little variation across sites, suggesting that this level of active travel and the motivations behind it are fairly consistent, with a few variations, across income and geography.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
March 31,2012
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2011
UTC Funding: