A huge number of factors determine how, why, and where city dwellers travel each day. It matters how far away we work, and how close the nearest mass transit stops, grocery stores, libraries, and restaurants are. It also matters how well the sidewalks, bike lanes, and streets can connect us to these places.
But the physical geography of our cities and neighborhoods is far from the only thing that affects urban mobility. Who our neighbors are, and how similar or different they are from us, matters too.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Planning Association sheds light on the connection between our patterns of movement and what we have in common with our neighbors. Urban planning researchers Michael Smart, of Rutgers, and Nicholas Klein, of the Pratt Institute, examined how people who live in neighborhoods bound by social ties and a common identity travel differently from most city residents.