An Analysis about the Influence of Neighborhood Functions on Travel Behavior of Citizens (Case Study: Rasht City)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof. of Geography and Urban Planning, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

2 PhD Candidate in Geography and Urban Planning, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

3 PhD Candidate in Geography and Urban Planning, Instructor in Payame Noor University, Mahabad, Iran


Over the past two decades, numerous studies especially in American and European cities have concluded that components of city shape have some impacts on different ways of citizen travels. These components are urban form and shape, urban densities, mixed land use, the roads configuration (Leck Eran, 2006, 37) and accessibility patterns (C.M.H.C, 2007: 1-4). Study about the stages of physical growth and development of world cities from the past to the present indicates that technological changes over the past century, especially in transportation, have caused physical growth of cities. In the recent years, however, a reaction to urban sprawl is occurred in the form of “smart growth” initiatives. Attempts to restrict urban growth or to modify its form are motivated by three concerns: 1) to preserve open spaces and foster urban development of more aesthetically appealing, 2) to reduce the cost of providing public services, and 3) to reduce dependence on the automobile and the externalities associated with automobile use that have accompanied urban sprawl (Bento et al, 2004: 1). Good city form in this paper is the form that has the minimum time and transportation costs with higher performance and satisfaction. Thus, efficient neighborhood organizations have a good form creating citizen satisfaction. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effect of neighborhood functions and city form of Rasht on travel behavior of citizens. In addition, Rasht like some other cities of Iran has been faced with two issues of rapid population growth, increasing the level of neighborhoods and high rates of car ownership.
This study is an applied-development research and conducted by a “survey” method. Statistical population of this study is the whole citizens of Rasht city, up to 382 persons by Morgan Table. Cluster sampling method was done to select the required amount of samples. Clusters selected for this study are all 92 neighborhoods in the city of Rasht, in each of these places five samples were randomly selected and the questionnaires were distributed among them and were completed. Finally, after eliminating incomplete questionnaires, 382 completed questionnaires were remained and the sample size of statistical population was covered completely. Validity of the questionnaire was assessed by getting opinion of teachers and experts, and its reliability was calculated by Cronbach's alpha coefficient to 87%. Excel and SPSS applications were employed to analyze the results of the methods and test hypotheses. Nonparametric statistical tests of “Kendalls tau –b” was used to determine the relationship between the variables.
Results and Discussion
The research hypothesis is stated as It seems that there is a significant relationship between the increasing use of private automobile and functions of the urban inappropriateness. For hypothesis testing, the functions of urban neighborhoods in the city of Rasht Based on Likert scale were identified.
 The significant relationship of the functions, with the use of citizen functions were reviewed and tested. In this paper, neighborhood organization and its relationship with travel behavior of citizens have been analyzed based on background studies and variables such as access to business, retailing, entertainment, education, sports, informational and other essential services. These variables using “Kendalls tau –b” nonparametric tests, correlation coefficients and their significance levels were calculated and are presented in Table 4. It can be said that the inappropriate access to retail services and inappropriate recreational, educational, sporting and other essential needed service functions have a significant relationship with using private automobile. There is not significant relationship between the inappropriate informational services and high rate of using private automobile. The reason is that informational service is quite appropriate in the city and people do not use private automobile to access these services.
In the final analysis of the relationships between the variables, it can be said that inappropriate distribution of neighborhood services has not met the needs of people and citizens to access most of middle-class neighborhood services (except informational services) in using private automobile obligatory. Thus, there is a significant relationship between the inappropriate neighborhood functions and the use of private automobile.
The results of this research indicate that there is a significant relationship between the urban inappropriate functions and the behavior of citizens. Causes of the increased car ownership in the city of Rasht are Urban sprawl and increased  distances, fewer number of buses, lack of planning to define new transportation axes, and etc. Thus, it is very important to determine sustainable urban form, and evaluate the functions of trip attraction to reduce the consequences of excessive use of private automobile in the city of Rasht.
The research hypothesis of the study stated that there is a significant relationship between the increasing use of private vehicles and the urban inappropriate functions, by using the Kendall's tau-b test. The results also determined that the major neighborhood functions such as retail, education, health, recreational, sports and other essential service functions have the structural weaknesses and they needs the restructuring of urban planning and the establishment of appropriate functions in the neighborhood of community center. The functions are faced with low surfaces in neighborhoods, and this has led to an increasing demand of citizen travel to access these services and also increasing use of private cars.
The results of this research have also confirmed strong relationship between the city form and functional variables of neighborhoods in meeting the public basic needs with the style and patterns of trips into the city. Lack of basic infrastructure and superstructure services in the neighborhood area has caused the disintegration of spatial organization and physical structure of the city. This makes it necessary to travel demand, development of roads, public service, transportation and other basic services.


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