Characteristics of new town travel revisited: an update of the Morgan-Dickey study of Reston, Virginia

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Virginia Tech


In 1974, Kent R. Morgan and John W. Dickey published an in-depth study of the travel characteristics of new town development ("The Characteristics of New Town Travel: A Case Study of Reston, Virginia"). Using Reston as a case study (and Vienna, Virginia, as a "control" post WWII suburb), the objective of the Morgan-Dickey research was "to determine if the transportation element of this satellite new community has, in fact, altered the travel patterns of its residents relative to the patterns exhibited in a more traditional suburban development." The intent of the present analysis is to determine if Reston has achieved the travel patterns anticipated by Morgan-Dickey, as well as by several proponents of new town development. A review of the literature and analysis of recent travel data suggests that while Reston has exhibited significantly lower automobile availability rates than Vienna, other measures of travel behavior ---- e.g. "internal" trips and trip generation rates --- are less conclusive, with Reston exhibiting only slightly more favorable (in terms of reduced travel) patterns than Vienna. In fact, the data indicates that Reston residents are less likely to carpool, take transit, bicycle, or walk to work than Vienna workers. The research suggests that Reston may not be the most appropriate model for evaluating new towns in general. The research further suggests that development external to Reston likely has a significant impact on the travel behavior of its residents.



intercity transportation