Residential self-selection in the relationship between the built environment and travel behavior: A literature review and research agenda

Bert van Wee*, Jason Cao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter gives an overview of the current debates on residential self-selection and presents a related research agenda. Here, we define residential self-selection as “the tendency of people to choose residential locations based on their travel abilities, needs and preferences.” Debates relate to theory/causalities (including the role of attitudes), research methods, empirical findings (including the magnitude of the importance of residential self-selection for the influence of the built environment on travel behavior and the dominance of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries), and the implications for planning. The main contribution is in translating the current debates into a research agenda. Challenging avenues for future research are partly inspired by these debates, and include changing attitudes, qualitative research, multiple causal structures, extending the scope to other areas than residential areas, the existence of threshold values for the strength of preferences to be important for residential self-selection, the role of perceived accessibility, non-OECD countries, and planning implications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Transport and Land Use Planning
Subtitle of host publicationA Synthesis of Global Knowledge
EditorsXinyu Jason Cao, Chuan Ding, Jiawen Yang
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780128240809
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Transport Policy and Planning
ISSN (Print)2543-0009
ISSN (Electronic)2542-9116

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Attitudes
  • Causality
  • Land use
  • Residential choice
  • Selection bias
  • Travel choice

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