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A Healthy Mix?

Health-Food Retail and Mixed-Use Development- Mobility-related Analysis of Grocery-Shopping Behavior in Irvine, California


Benjamin Heldt

Mixed-use developments are one of the means planners use to realize land-use changes required by SB375 to encounter climate change. The mix of land uses is intended to reduce distances between activities. However, for their economic viability, such projects require specialty retail as anchor tenants which draw a special customer base that may be willing to travel far. Consequently, specialty may contradict a mixed-use development’s intention to reduce traffic. This research looks into the spatial behavior of the customers of a health-food store that is located at the mixed-use development «Park Place» in Irvine, CA. Using a POS-intercept survey and GIS, the author found that regular health-food shoppers indeed travel significantly farther distances than occasional health-food shoppers.


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4 Theories and empirics of shopping travel behavior


This chapter introduces a theoretical framework for addressing the research question. It therefore gives an overview of the existing research that deals with the interaction between land use and transportation, i.e., how does land use affect transportation patterns and travel behavior? Next, theories from retail geography and marketing will be combined to form two threads of theories to explain how mixed use development and specialty retail may induce consumers to decide which destination to choose and which mode of transportation to use. After that, studies dealing with the specific topic of shopping travel behavior analyzed here will be outlined and complemented by a short summary of research on mode choice to finally yield the main hypotheses. 4.1 Developing a theoretical framework In order to develop a theoretical framework for the present study, first an overview of existing research on the general interaction between land use vari- ables and transportation variables will be given, focusing on diversity as the main characteristic of a MXD and, if applicable, shopping travel. Perspectives taken in these studies will be filtered which then leads to the approach of this study. After that, several theories from retail geography, shopping travel re- search, and marketing will be combined to yield the final theoretical framework that is intended to explain two possibilities of how consumer behavior related to MXDs translates to grocery shopping mobility patterns induced by MXDs and specialty retail. 4.1.1 State of research in transportation and urban planning Research in the field of transportation planning regarding...

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