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Publication Date

Fall 2008

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Katherine Kao Cushing

Subject Areas

Transportation; Urban and Regional Planning


This thesis addresses transportation mode choice for a Hispanic population in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. The study of transportation mode choice determines why people select a particular form of transportation. Past studies identified multiple influential factors such as individual and household attributes, personal opinions and perceptions, social norms, and infrastructure. However, there is no consensus as to which are the most influential factors. This evaluation uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies to gather data from residents in a quarter of a mile radius in the downtown area. Findings suggest that the "availability of an automobile" is the fundamental factor determining mode choice. Only when participants had access to an automobile did other factors come into play. Intense automobile dependency overrides close distances and air quality concerns; bicycles are only considered as suitable for leisure. The international border is an additional influence, specifically encouraging automobile dependency.