|M.Sc Student||Newmark Gregory|
|Subject||The Impact of New Suburban Malls on the Sustainability of|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Pnina Plaut|
Travel by private vehicle entails negative externalities including air pollution. To mitigate the demand for automobile use, planners in North America and Western Europe currently advocate dense, mixed use development. While cities of Central and Eastern Europe remain largely characterized by this coveted urban form, planners have expressed concern that the emergence of Western-style suburban shopping malls across the region will result in an increase in private vehicle use and an attendant increase in air pollution.
Such concerns have not been verified through longitudinal research on travel adaptations to major changes in retail land use. This study is designed to test whether the introduction of the new malls in Prague, Czech Republic affect shopping travel behavior as measured by mode choice, trip frequency, and activity duration and to assess whether the net impact of these changes represents improvement or degradation in transport sustainability as measured by the direction and strength of change in private vehicle trips, mode splits, and automobile cold starts. Finally, this study uses disaggregate data to best identify socio-demographic and other factors that may help structure effective mitigation policies.
In Fall 2001, 1,649 people provided information on their shopping travel behaviors, currently and prior to the introduction of the malls, through an intercept survey administered in all four of Prague’s suburban retail centers. The data from the 1,439 people who came to the mall primarily for shopping purposes are analyzed to characterize shopping travel behaviors. The aggregated data are explored by both parametric and non-parametric statistical models to examine net changes in travel behaviors. The disaggregated data are used to calculate new variables that serve as indicators of changing shopping travel behaviors. These indicators measure changes in mode, in private vehicle, transit and walking trips, and in the number of cold starts generated. Finally, these indicators are examined with binomial logit and multiple regression statistical models.
The major research findings are that, surprisingly, while shoppers were found to reduce trip frequency, increase shopping duration, and shift mode towards private vehicles, there was no statistically significant change in the absolute number of private vehicle shopping trips with the introduction of the malls. However, due to the longer shopping durations, the same number of private vehicle trips did result in an increase in cold starts and therefore in air pollution.