‘New’ versus ‘Old’ Urbanism: A comparative analysis of travel behavior in large-scale New Urbanist communities and older, more established neighborhoods in Denver, Colorado

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Piatkowski, Daniel P.
Marshall, Wesley E
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
New urbanism
Urban planning
Cities & towns -- Colorado
Central business districts -- Colorado
Urban Planners
Urban transportation -- Colorado -- Denver
Issue Date
Other Titles
New Urbanist development is often characterized by higher densities, mixed land uses and various transportation options - characteristics often evidenced by older, pre-automobile neighborhoods. This is no accident; New Urbanism aims to closely approximate many qualities of 'old urbanist' neighborhoods to support, among other things, increased transportation options beyond the automobile. However, existing research is mixed as to whether new urbanist developments are reaching their transportation goals. This study employs multiple methods to examine the degree to which travel behavior in New Urbanist neighborhoods is comparable to that of old urbanist neighborhoods in the same region. Mode choice models show distance to work as a significant predictor of walking and cycling, while availability of free parking at work significantly predicts driving. Despite the fact that the New Urbanist neighborhoods are further from the central business district (CBD) than the old urbanist neighborhoods, average distance to work is similar across all neighborhoods - suggesting that employment locations are decentralized. We conclude that while New Urbanist communities may not currently be reaching their transportation goals, they have the ability to provide a supportive context for parking policy reforms and transit investments that disincentive auto travel and prioritize walking, cycling and transit.