Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning/MS in Engineering (Transportation Planning Specialization)


City and Regional Planning


Cornelius Nuworsoo


Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a strategy being used to reduce congestion, provide mode choice, and improve quality of life. A large amount of research has been done on individual aspects of TOD, but research specific to transportation-related benefits of TOD is limited. There is a need for traffic and transit data that is supported by comprehensive resident, employee, and user surveys to demonstrate the interrelationship between land uses, transportation, and socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Moreover, VMT data at the household level is essential to analyze household travel behavior and the potential for VMT related emissions reduction.

The purpose of this research was to contribute to the literature on the effectiveness of TOD in reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The goal of this research was to provide additional findings of how TOD affects travel behavior. Specifically, this study examined a TOD study site, BluWater Crossing, in Carlsbad, CA. This study compared BluWater to a conventional, suburban neighborhood with a similar demographic profile and geographic location. The TOD residents were just as dependent on auto-oriented trips as the suburban neighborhood residents. An additional comparison was made to examine how earned income of residents at a TOD affected trip lengths (miles). BluWater, a market-rate TOD, was compared to Poinsettia, a low-income TOD, located adjacent to BluWater. Results showed that the low-income TOD residents made significantly more daily trips, but clocked lower VMT than the market-rate TOD residents.

A noticeable reduction in VMT is significant for TOD research due to the implications of reduced green house gas emissions, lower energy consumption and improved quality of life. This is important because only with a better knowledge of the performance of TOD will communities begin to move toward a more efficient permitting process for new developments and incentivize the public and private sectors to fund pedestrian and transit-oriented projects, to result in more development of TODs.