An Analysis of Travel Characteristics of Carless Households in California

Research Team: Suman K. Mitra and Jean-Daniel Saphores

University: UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Compared to mobile households, mobility-impaired households are at a disadvantage for accessing employment, educational, social, and recreational opportunities. Approximately 8% of households in California do not have cars. These households, which are often neglected in transportation policy discussions, can be organized into two groups: “involuntary” and “voluntary”. Understanding the travel behavior of households that voluntarily decided to forgo cars is important for informing policies that aim to reduce dependency on cars for travel. Understanding the travel pattern of involuntary carless households is also important as these households are at greater risk of physical isolation, poor access, and social exclusion. Unfortunately, knowledge of travel behavior of carless households is lacking.

Project Description: Based on an analysis of trip data from the 2012 California Household Travel Survey (CHTS), there are substantial differences between the different categories of carless households (voluntary and involuntary). Compared to their voluntarily carless peers, involuntarily carless households travel less frequently, trips are longer, and trips take more time. Individuals in these households also walk and/or bike less, depend more on transit, and have a higher vehicle occupancy when traveling by car. Overall, involuntarily carless households are less mobile, which may contribute to a more isolated lifestyle with a lower degree of well-being.

Status: Completed

Budget: $37,719

Project Partner(s): Caltrans, Orange County Transportation Authority, City of Irvine Planning Department, City of Santa Ana Planning Department

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