Walking frequency, cars, dogs, and the built environment

Bahareh Sehatzadeh, Robert B. Noland, Marc D. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


To explain walking propensity or frequency, empirical studies have generally used two sets of explanatory variables, namely, socio-demographic variables and built environment variables. They have generally shown that both socio-demographic characteristics and built environment characteristics are associated with walking propensity. We examine the traditional walkability variables that encompass density, mix of uses, and network connectivity in New Jersey, using a statewide sample including an oversample of Jersey City. We estimate a two-stage least squares model using a conditional mixed process that combines an ordered probit model of walking frequency in the second stage based on a truncated regression of car ownership in the first stage. Our results show that built environment variables have some small effects, mainly from better network connectivity associated with increased walking frequency. One of our key findings is that built environment features also work indirectly via how they influence car ownership. In general, we find sufficient evidence that suggests fewer cars are owned in areas with more walkable built environment features. The other key variable that we control for is whether a household owns a dog. This also proved to be strongly associated with walking suggesting that dog ownership is a necessary control variable to understand the frequency of walking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-754
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


  • Built environment
  • Car ownership
  • Two-stage least squares
  • Walking


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