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Locational Dimensions of Urban Highway Impact: An Empirical Analysis

James O. Wheeler
Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography
Vol. 58, No. 2 (1976), pp. 67-78
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography
DOI: 10.2307/490613
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/490613
Page Count: 12
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Locational Dimensions of Urban Highway Impact: An Empirical Analysis
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Abstract

It is widely recognized that the impact of a new highway affects people both positively and negatively. This research examines the attitudes of residents in neighborhoods in an area in which an urban freeway is proposed. Specifically measurements are made on attitudes toward environmental and accessibility impact at varying distances from the proposed freeway. Data are derived from a questionnaire survey of approximately 150 households in each of four neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia. Each respondent was asked to react to eleven statements regarding the proposed I-485 freeway in Atlanta. Two analytic procedures were used, principal components factor analysis and multidimensional scaling. Several findings resulted. The role of distance from the freeway appears to be critical in attitude formation. Those supporting freeway construction tend to live some distance from the route and expect to enjoy the transportation advantages without bearing many of the detrimental freeway features. The strongest opposition came from those residing in the path of the proposed freeway. The neighborhoods viewed highway impact in terms of two dimensions, even though the range of attitudes on these two dimensions was diverse. The first dimension represented a trade-off between accessibility and environmental attributes. The second dimension measured local versus area-wide impact. This study suggests that a next step in highway impact research might focus on the genesis and development of attitudes toward highways to more precisely measure and determine the role of proximity in attitude formation.

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