How space and place influence transportation trends at Humboldt State University

Focusing on Arcata, California, this study explores the factors that motivate an individual to choose one mode of transportation over another, through an examination of a substantial subset of the town’s population—Humboldt State University (HSU) students. HSU has a significant presence in Arcata as the largest employer in the city, and it occupies 160 acres near the center of the urban area. Over 7,400 students are enrolled, nearing half the city’s population. By investigating this specific population’s trends when commuting to school, this study draws inferences as to their transportation habits in general. This insight provides a better understanding of what drives people in Arcata to walk or bike, rather than drive, around town. Ultimately, the study shows that people’s sense of place and attachment to Arcata, as well as their geographic location in Arcata, has a strong positive relationship to an increase in active transport use.