Municipalities, planners, and governmental decision makers in the US attempt to reduce commuting by automobile by building the highest functioning and most extensive public transportation systems possible in their given city. Unfortunately, the old adage, ‘if you build it, they will come’ is not true in regard to shifting commuter mode choice. For a real shift to occur, workers must be incentivized to use the alternative modes of transportation that are available. This study evaluates the relationship between the development of viable modal choice and proper incentivization, and mode choice for the commute to work using five-year averaged census data for the 1220 census tracts in the Washington, DC region. In addition, this study uses planning and financial documents from the Metropolitan Council of Governments and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Multivariate regression results show highly significant relationships between the use of public transportation, biking, and walking and our explanatory variables: proximity to a station, population density, educational attainment, income, and race. Through our case study evaluation, we have concluded that the Washington-Arlington- Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area has one of the premier transportation systems in the country.


Burnell, James


Urban Studies


Urban, Community and Regional Planning

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Alexander W. Hohl