Evaluating the Relationship Between School Site Selection, Residential Developments and School Transportation in North Carolina

The purpose of this research is to understand whether – and to what extent – the built environment around a school influences the public and private costs of transporting students to that school and to measure those relationships over time. Assessing these relationships will allow school districts and communities to understand the impacts on school transportation operations and costs of decisions about neighborhood design and school location. This research expands on prior STRIDE-funded research that explored the relationship between community design factors such as residential development density, street network connectivity and school transportation operations and costs. This project collects secondary data available in North Carolina to develop a unique dataset showing the relationship between land use, via the distances between residential homes and schools, and school transportation costs using a sample of 50 North Carolina elementary schools. This approach advances the research agenda by 1) evaluating the land use distribution distances for four urban public schools systems; 2) exploring the relationship between local built environment conditions and school travel rates; and 3) accounting for social, economic and demographic factors in school travel mode choice. This larger sample size also increases the generalizability of the research to a range of built environment and community types. Further, the collection of this data has resulted in the largest paired school land use and transportation dataset in the United States; a de-identified version of the data will be made available to other researchers in the Southeast region. The results support national and regional policy efforts that articulate the economic benefits of constructing schools in more residentially dense areas for elected and professional school and community decision makers.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE)

    University of Florida
    365 Weil Hall
    Gainesville, FL  United States  32611
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    UNC-CH New East Building
    Campus Box #3140
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina  United States  27599-3140
  • Principal Investigators:

    McDonald, Noreen

  • Start Date: 20160612
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170428
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01640042
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE)
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2017 2:19PM