Davis Shopping Study

Shopping travel constitutes a significant share of all daily travel in the U.S. This travel has significant environmental impacts with respect to energy consumption, air quality, water quality, and climate change. Understanding the factors that influence choices about shopping provides a basis for the development of policies that help ensure that consumer needs are met while the environmental costs of shopping travel are minimized. The purpose of this study is to examine shopping behavior of residents of Davis, CA before and after the opening of a Target store in Davis. The decision to allow the Target store in Davis was controversial, as it required a vote of the public to approve an exception to city regulations that set a maximum limit on store size within the city. Leading up to the vote in November 2007, residents raised many concerns about the impact of Target on local businesses, while others. Others argued that Davis residents shopped at Target in other cities anyway, and so having a Target in Davis would reduce driving and keep sales tax revenues within the city. Narrowly approved by the voters, the Target store is scheduled to open on October 11, 2009. The opening of the Target store in Davis presents a unique opportunity to study the causal effects on shopping behavior of a significant change in the retail landscape. Few such "before-and-after" studies have been documented in the academic literature. This study will provide important insights for communities considering the implementation or relaxation of bans on "big box" stores. This study is also relevant to current policy debates in California over the role of "smart growth" planning policies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a way to meet Assembly Bill 32 requirements.