With the arising sustainability issues related to both natural and built environments along with health issues as a result of reduced activity, active modes of travel are being investigated to increase their use to combat such issues. This study through an advanced behavioural modelling approach on four typical suburbs of metropolitan Adelaide confirms that urban design generally have a modest but statistically significant effect on modal choices. Well-connected streets and close proximity to jobs and key functions were shown to induce non-motorised travel. From planning policy perspective, this suggests that greater daily activity and consequent health and environmental benefits might accrue from designing human-scale, walkable communities that appeal to the preference of different social groups vs investment in master-planned communities in the hope of swaying travel behaviour. That is, pedestrian-friendly places suited to the taste preferences of socio-demographic groups might induce more physical activity over the long run through the process of residential self-selection than overt efforts to create fully planned, attractive and quality landscapes all over suburbia.