45th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Land Use and Water Management in a Sustainable Network Society", 23-27 August 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Light Rail Transit (LRT) has been gaining popularity as a means of decreasing private automobile dependency and thus reducing car pollutants, relieving congestion and enhancing community liveability. LRT is also perceived as an important generator of economic growth, mainly in old urban centers. Through the improvement of accessibility to CBDs (Central Business Districts) planners and decision makers expect to revitalize central cities' vis-a-vis the increasing competition from the growing suburban shopping malls. More specifically, the objective of this paper is to explore the complex relationship between transportation and land use by analyzing the optimal composition of land use around the proposed light rail stations. Density and diversity are the two most important characteristics of urban land use development. We examine changes in land use adjacent to the LRT stations in metropolitan Tel-Aviv, and their impact on the demand for total travel in particular. These changes include hypothetical scenarios of alternative land use compositions, densities and intensities of residential, employment, and commercial land uses. In order to measure the impact of these changes on travel, a demand model is calibrated. The traditional four-step transportation model is retrofitted with alternative land use density and diversity variables. Among these are: residential density, job-population balance etc. As such, the re¬structured model is more sensitive to the different hypothetical land use scenarios and is expected to predict ridership demand changes more accurately. The results have shown that some of the land use variables are extremely important for trip generation trends forecasts, especially trip attraction trends. Furthermore, the simulations of the various land use policies are able to display the spatial reaction of trip rates to land use function, density, degree of mix, and household characteristics. The results of this study could serve to better assess urban transportation ridership demands, especially since they serve as input for mode choice analyses. Moreover, by exploring this subject even further, planners and decision makers will be able to attain a clearer and more comprehensive picture of optimal land use patterns surrounding station areas, and in doing so, improving the quality of life of urban dwellers, commuters and visitors.