To date, most empirical studies have applied cross-sectional designs to investigate the relationship between the built environment (BE) and travel behaviour (TB). Since these studies cannot identify causal influence, the use of designs that provide data on multiple moments in time seems necessary. This article classifies these designs and describes how they can be applied to identify causality in this relationship. We recommend the use of natural experiments to assess the impact of changes in land use/infrastructure and prospective longitudinal designs to assess the impact of residential or job moves. In addition, the role of the BE can be explored by assessing the impact of (1) deliberate TB change experiments and (2) changes in household circumstances across different spatial contexts over time. The use of randomised experimental designs is recommended for the former and prospective longitudinal designs for the latter. The article concludes with an outlook on future research.
- built environment
- multi-period research designs
- travel behaviour