Understanding Market Segments for Current and Future Residential Location and Travel Choices

Kelly Clifton, Portland State University


  • Jenny Liu, Portland State University
  • Roger Chen, Portland State University


This project aims to examine the connections between residential location choices and travel at the household level with an emphasis on identifying current residents' preferences for their future housing, neighborhood and transportation choices (collectively referred to as lifestyle choices) that can be used in scenario planning exercises. The goal is to understand how future lifestyle aspirations relate to current choices. This work builds on a current project, funded by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), that employs data from the recent Oregon Household Activity Survey (OHAS) to define discrete market segments of lifestyle choices based upon the revealed preferences for housing, neighborhoods and travel. In this proposed second phase, a sample of people in each of these market segments will participate in this study, which relies upon experimental survey techniques and visualization tools to see how these lifestyle preferences may change over the life course and may differ from currently held assumptions about these preferences. 

Understanding the changes in preferences is key to improving the presentation of residential locations choices in integrated land use and travel demand models. As communities struggle to address challenges related to public infrastructure provision, climate change preparation, energy and natural resource consumption, and the creation of a livable future given present economic uncertainty and constraint, land use and transportation plans have become predicated on certain assumptions about the market for various housing types, residential environments and travel modes. If planners lack faith in the estimates from these models, the long range supply of housing, mix of uses, and other land use characteristics will be insufficient to meet future demands. This research will inform these assumptions and contribute to a more robust understanding of the public\'s desires and how they may be accommodated in future scenarios.


The findings from this research will provide a better foundation for understanding the links between residential location choices and travel patterns, which is a vital contribution to the discussion of statewide sustainability goals, such as emissions reductions. This study will improve the understanding of the behavioral mechanisms behind residential location and transportation decisions, which will enable the development of policy-sensitive models that reflect this behavioral realism. Specifically, this research will benefit the formulation of statewide transportation policy on several levels including: a better understanding of the future spatial distribution of households and potential impacts of various land use and transportation policies; an improved ability to evaluate the impact of these residential location choices on sustainability and climate change policies; and an enhancement of modeling and evaluation tools that are sensitive to the range of policies and scenarios under consideration in Oregon and beyond. Research findings will also have a potential impact on a more local or regional scale, where housing and land use plans are being formulated based upon the integrated modeling analysis being conducted by Metro in the Portland area as well as the work in other urban regions of the United States.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
August 31,2014
UTC Grant Cycle:
Tier 1 Round 1
UTC Funding:

Other Products

  • The importance of housing, accessibility, & transport characteristic ratings on stated neighborhood preference (PRESENTATION)
  • Representing the built environment in surveys: A validation exercise (PRESENTATION)
  • The importance of housing, accessibility, and transport characteristic ratings on stated neighbourhood preference (PRESENTATION)
  • Currans, K; Gehrke, S and Clifton K. “Visualizing The Housing, Accessibility, And Transportation characteristics Of A Neighborhood In A Stated Preference Survey: A Pilot Study,” to be presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, January 11-15, 2015. (PRESENTATION)
  • TRB Presentation (PRESENTATION)
  • Chen, Roger B.; Gehrke, Steven R.; Currans, Kristina Marie; Clifton, Kelly J.; Liu, Jenny and Jang, Yunemi. “Exploring Residential Tenure and Housing Type Decisions and Household Activity Engagement,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2344, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2013, pp. 68–78. (PUBLICATION)
  • S.R. Gehrke & K.J. Clifton. “Operationalizing Land Use at Varying Geographic Scales and its Connection to Mode Choice: Evidence from Portland, Oregon,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., forthcoming. (PUBLICATION)
  • Roger Chen, Steven Gehrke, Yunemi Jiang, Jenny Liu and Kelly Clifton - "Residential Location Choices and Household Activity Engagement" (PRESENTATION)