Evaluating People’s To Reach Desired Goods, Services and Activities


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 6 September 2019

This chapter defines the concept of “accessibility,” discusses how it is evaluated, and describes various ways to improve it. Accessibility refers to the ability to reach desired goods, services and activities, which is the ultimate goal of most transportation activity. For more detailed discussion see the report “Accessibility: Defining, Evaluating and Improving Accessibility.”




Accessibility (also called access or convenience) refers to the ability to reach desired goods, services, activities and destinations (together called opportunities). For example, a stepladder provides access to a high shelf, a store provides access to goods, and a library or telecommunications device provide access to information. Walking, cycling, ridesharing and public transit provide access to jobs, services and other activities. Access is the ultimate goal of most transportation, excepting the small portion of travel in which movement is an end in itself, (e.g., cruising, historic train rides, horseback riding, jogging). Even recreational travel usually has a destination, such as a resort or a campsite (mobility as an end in itself is discussed later in this chapter).


Four general factors affect physical accessibility:


1.       Mobility, that is, physical movement. Mobility can be provided by walking, cycling, public transit, ridesharing, taxi, automobiles, trucks and other modes.


2.       Mobility Substitutes, such as telecommunications and delivery services. These can provide access to some types of goods and activities, particularly those involving information.


3.       Transportation System Connectivity, which refers to the directness of links and the density of connections in path or road network.


4.      Land Use, that is, the geographic distribution of activities and destinations. The dispersion of common destination increases the amount of mobility needed to access goods, services and activities, reducing accessibility. When real estate experts say “location, location, location” they mean “accessibility, accessibility, accessibility.” Just as an automobile is a machine for mobility, a city is a machine for accessibility (Levinson, Krizek and Gillen 2005).



Accessibility reflects the generalized Costs (time, money, discomfort and risk) needed to reach activities. Where the marginal financial cost of travel is relatively low (for example, for automobile owners), travel time tends to be the dominant component of accessibility. Individuals often evaluate accessibility in terms of convenience, that is, the ease with which they can reach what they want. A shop that is relatively accessible to consumers is called a convenience store, and a home near common destinations is said to have a convenient location.


Given enough time and money nearly every location on earth is accessible, but the degree of accessibility varies widely, depending on the location, time and person. The relative degree of accessibility effects where you go, what you do, who you know, your household costs, and your opportunities for education, employment and recreation. Accessibility can affect the types of business, property values and Economic Development that occurs in an area.


Table 1 lists specific factors that affect accessibility and the degree to which they are considered in current transport planning. Some of these factors tend to be overlooked or undervalued, such as nonmotorized travel demand, alternative mode service quality, land use factors, traffic impacts on nonmotorized access, and mobility management options.


Table 1            Summary of Factors Affecting Accessibility (Litman 2007)



Current Consideration

Transport Demand

The amount of mobility and access that people and businesses would choose under various conditions (times, prices, levels of service, etc).

Motorized travel demand is well studied, but nonmotorized demand is not. Travel demand is often treated as inflexible rather than variable.

Basic Access and Mobility

The relatively high importance to society of some mobility and accessibility activity.

Considered in some types of planning, such as special mobility services.


The distance and speed of travel, including personal mobility (measured as person-miles) and vehicle mobility (measured as vehicle-miles).

Conventional transport planning focuses primarily on mobility, particularly vehicle mobility.


Transportation Options

The quantity and quality of access options, including walking, cycling, ridesharing, transit, taxi, delivery services, and telecommunications. Qualitative factors include their availability, speed, frequency, convenience, comfort, safety, price and prestige.

Motor vehicle options and quality are usually considered, using indicators such as roadway Level-of-Service, but other modes lack such indicators and some important service quality factors are often overlooked.

User information

The quality (convenience and reliability) of  Multi-Modal Navigation Information.

Frequently considered when dealing with a particular mode or transport problem, but often not comprehensive.


The degree of integration among transport system links and modes, including terminals and parking facilities.

Automobile transport is generally well integrated, but connections between other modes are often poorly planned.


The cost to users of transport and location options relative to incomes.

Automobile operating costs and transit fares usually considered.

Mobility Substitutes

The quality of telecommunications and delivery services that substitute for physical travel.

Not usually considered in transport planning.

Land Use Factors

Degree that factors such as land use density and mix affect accessibility.

Considered in land use planning but given less consideration in transport planning.

Transport Network Connectivity

The density of connections between roads and paths, and therefore the directness by which people can travel between destinations.

Current planning supports hierarchical road networks, but there is growing support for more connected systems.

Roadway Design and Management

How road design and management practices affect vehicle traffic, mobility and accessibility.

Some factors are generally considered, but others are not.

Mobility Management

Various strategies that increase transport system efficiency.

Often overlooked or undervalued by mobility-based planning.


The value of inaccessibility and external costs of increased mobility.

Not generally considered in transport planning.

This table indicates factors that affect accessibility and whether they are currently considered in planning.



Accessibility can be viewed from different perspectives, such as from the perspective of a particular location, a particular group, or a particular activity. It is therefore important to specify the perspective being considered when describing and evaluating accessibility. For example, in building with stairs and no elevator may be easily accessible for physically-able people, but not for people with physical disabilities. A particular location may be very accessible by automobile but not by walking and transit, and so is difficult to reach for non-drivers. A building may have adequate automobile access but poor access for large trucks, and so is suitable for some types of commercial activity but not others.


Think about the destinations you can reach within 10 minutes, 30 minutes and 60 minutes of your home or worksite. Most people expect to spend less than 10 minutes of time and less than a dollar in financial costs on travel for common errands such as snacks, and minor shopping. If goods and services are available within a convenient ten-minute walk of your home or worksite, you may perform some errands by walking, but if not you will probably drive. Thirty minutes and two or three dollars represent the time and money most people expect to devote to a one-way commute. Sixty minutes and a few dollars represent what people will typically travel for a special event. A sports stadium, concert hall or airport will primarily attract patrons who are accessible within this range. (Of course, maximum travel costs vary depending on personal preferences and conditions, but these are reasonable averages).


Other Meanings of “Access”

The words “accessibility” and “access” have many meanings and implications. This chapter focuses primarily on physical access to goods, services and destinations. There are other factors that affect access. For example, access to medical services requires not only physical access to medical facilities, is also that services be affordable and understandable to potential users.


The word “access” has several specific meanings in transportation planning. In pedestrian planning it often refers to accessible design or Universal Design, meaning facilities designed to accommodate people with disabilities and other special needs. For example, a pathway designed to accommodate people in wheelchairs may be called “accessible.” In roadway engineering “access” refers to connections to adjacent properties. A “limited access” highway has minimal connections to adjacent properties, while a local road provides direct access. Access Management refers to programs to limit the number of driveways and intersections on highways to improve traffic flow and safety.



Evaluating Accessibility

Transportation Evaluation refers to various methods to predict determine how a particular decision or activity affects accessibility, and the value to society that results. For example, public officials may want to compare how particular highway improvements, transit improvements, TDM programs and land use changes would affect access by residents to public and commercial services.


How transportation is Measured can affect how accessibility is evaluated, and the range of solutions that are considered to transportation problems. Standard transport Modeling and Evaluation techniques tend to be traffic-based, that is, they can predict how transport and land use changes affect motor vehicle movement, and so favor automobile-oriented transport improvements. In recent years, mobility-based evaluation techniques, which measure the movement of people and goods, have become more common. This tends to give greater consideration to transit and ridesharing, but still treats movement as an end in itself. Measuring transport in terms of access expands the range of impacts and solutions further to include mobility substitutes and land use factors. Table 2 compares these different ways of measuring transportation.


Table 2            Comparing Methods of Measuring Transportation





Definition of Transportation


Vehicle travel.

Person and goods movement.

Ability to obtain goods, services and activities.


Unit of measure


Vehicle miles.

Person-miles and ton-miles.


Trips, generalized costs.

Modes considered

Automobile and truck.

Automobile, truck and transit.

Automobile, truck, transit, cycling and walking.

Common Indicators

Vehicle traffic volumes and speeds, roadway Level of Service, costs per vehicle-mile, parking convenience.

Person travel volumes and speeds, road and transit Level of Service, cost per person-mile, travel convenience.

Quality of available transportation choices. Distribution of destinations. Cost per trip.

Assumptions concerning what benefits consumers.


Maximum motor vehicle travel and speed.

Maximum personal travel and goods movement.

Maximum transport choice and cost efficiency.


Consideration of land use.

Treats land use as an input, unaffected by transportation decisions.


Recognizes that land use can affect travel choice.

Recognizes that land use has major impacts on transportation.

Favored Transportation Improvement Strategies

Roadway and parking facility improvements to increase capacity, speed and safety.

Transportation system improvements that increase capacity, speeds and safety.

Management strategies and improvements that increase transport system efficiency and safety.



Implications for TDM

Generally considers vehicle travel reductions undesirable, except if congestion is extreme.

Supports TDM strategies that improve personal and freight mobility.



Supports TDM whenever it is cost effective.

This table compares three common perspectives used to measure transportation.



Accessibility is a well-recognized concept in the disciplines of geography and urban economics, and transportation professionals have begun to explore its implications for transport planning (BTS 1997). Accessibility is more difficult to measure than mobility because it is affected by a variety of factors, including mobility by various modes, mobility substitutes and land use conditions (Neimeier 1997; Zhang 2005). Some accessibility models have been developed, but they tend to be expensive to build and are generally applied on a regional scale (Kockelman 1996; Abraham 1998; Dong, et al. 2006). Rendall, et al. (2011) quantify Active Mode Accessibility (AMA), defined as the proportion of activities that can be reached by active modes (walking, cycling, and public transport) alone, given the population demographics of the study area. AMA is characterized by the underlying geographic form of an urban area and its transport networks. They describe methods for calculating the AMA and apply it to case studies. 


Accessibility Versus Mobility

Automobile travel is a form of mobility, which refers to physical travel. Accessibility refers to people’s ability reach desired goods, services and activities. Accessibility is the ultimate goal of most transportation activity, excepting the small portion of travel that has no destination, such as exercise walk and cycling, or cruising in a car. Even recreational travel usually has a destination such as a viewpoint or tourist attraction.


All else being equal, increased mobility (faster or cheaper travel) increases accessibility, and constrains such as traffic congestion and vehicle fees reduce accessibility, but other factors also affect accessibility, including the proximity of services and activities (such as the distance between homes, public service and worksites), the quality of Transport Options (such as the convenience, comfort and affordability of walking, cycling and public transit), and mobility substitutes (telecommunications and delivery services). For example, accessibility can be improved by choosing a home close to shops and restaurants, by improving walking and cycling conditions, and public transit services, and by improving telecommunications and delivery services.


Automobiles can be considered machines that maximize mobility, while cities can be considered machines that maximize accessibility.


Many planning decisions involve trade-offs between different types of accessibility. For example, compact development (increased land use density and mix, with narrower roads and less parking supply) tends to increase proximity and transport options, but tends to reduce automobile travel speeds due to more traffic and parking congestion. Conversely, sprawl (dispersed, urban fringe development, with wider roads and generous parking supply) tends to increase automobile travel speeds but increases travel distances and reduces accessibility by other modes. Many transportation Performance Indicators, such as roadway Level-of-Service and average traffic speeds, measure mobility rather than accessibility, and so are biased in favor of automobile travel over other modes, and sprawl over more compact development. Multi-modal transport Planning can help identify trade-offs between different forms of accessibility, such as the reduction in pedestrian access (and therefore transit access, since most transit trips include walking links) caused by wider roads and higher traffic speeds, and the increased travel distances caused by land use sprawl.



Some models evaluate accessibility based on the number of services and activities (such as jobs) that can be reached within a given time period by various travel modes (Kaufman, et al. 2014; Levine, et al 2012; Levinson 2013). Simplified versions include WalkScore and TransitScore, and Google Maps commute travel time applications.



Other Accessibility Indicators

Some other methods for evaluating accessibility are described below. For additional information see the Transportation Options chapter.


Specific Accessibility Problems

There is often a specific accessibility problem or constraint, such as the need for a particular group of people to access medical services. Improvements can be evaluated based on their ability to address this problem or overcome a particular constraint. For example, policy makers may compare strategies that locate medical services closer to users (e.g., more community-based medical clinics), locate more residents closer to medical services (e.g., encourage the development of senior housing in areas with good medical services), increased mobility for medical care users (e.g., special shuttle and ridematching services to medical centers), and addressing mobility barriers (e.g., insuring that all public transit buses can accommodate wheelchair users).


User Perspective

Another approach for evaluating accessibility is to consider how well a particular individual or group’s access needs are met, the barriers they face, and how their accessibility could be improved. For example, it may be important to consider how well elderly non-drivers are able to access medical, commercial, social and recreation access needs. Resort community planners may want to consider how well various types of visitors (e.g., families with young children who do not have a car, people with physical disabilities, teenagers) are able to access activities and amenities.


Strategic Planning For Transportation Options

This approach involves evaluating policies and projects according to whether they tend to increase or reduce accessibility. For example, zoning codes, parking requirements, new developments, roadway design, and transportation agency expenditures can all be evaluated in terms of whether they tend to increase or reduce overall accessibility, that is, their impacts on the range of transportation options available and the distribution of locations in an area. This approach focuses on whether accessibility objectives and indicators are properly incorporated into the planning process.



Equity Analysis

Accessibility has important Equity impacts. The quality of a person or group’s access determines their opportunity to engage in economic and social activities. Policies that favor access for one group over others can be considered unfair (horizontally inequitable). Policies that favor advantaged groups over disadvantaged groups (such as wealthy over poor or motorists over non-motorists) can be considered vertically inequitable.


Equity analysis of accessibility often focuses on providing Basic Access to people who are physically, economically or socially disadvantaged. In most communities, people who can drive and afford a vehicle have relatively little trouble accessing medical services, stores, education, employment or social/recreational activities (although access under urban-peak conditions may be slow due to congestion). However, there are often many people who cannot achieve Basic Access due to physical, economic or social barriers.


Basic Access and transportation disadvantage reflect qualitative factors that may be difficult to measure, and values that may vary from one individual or community to another. For example, different people may have different ideas as to how far physically-able transit users should be expected walk to access a bus, or how many shopping and recreation trips should be provided by special transit services to people with disabilities. For this reason it is important to involve community members and users in determining how to evaluate accessibility equity.


Travel Impacts

Improved accessibility can have a variety of travel impacts. For example, if employees are allowed to telecommute, some may reduce their total vehicle travel, while others will use it as an opportunity to live farther from their worksite. Improved walking and cycling conditions may lead to more recreational walking, not necessarily a reduction in driving. Similarly, improved accessibility to shops may result in more shopping trips, with no change in the total amount of shopping travel.


People throughout the world tend to spend about the same amount of time on travel, averaging about 1.2 hours per day (Schafer, 2000). After all, there are only so many hours in a day, part of which is devoted to sleep, work and other personal activities. As a result, people tend to adapt their lives to their accessibility. For example, when a person first obtains a bicycle or automobile, they don’t usually simply travel faster to the same destinations, they usually spend about the same amount of time traveling to more distant destinations. Conversely, if your accessibility improves, for example, if several stores open near your home, you may visit them more frequently than if shopping trips require several miles of travel. As a result, travel time budgets tend to remain constant as mobility and land use accessibility change.


Improved accessibility provide consumer benefits, and it can help achieve TDM objectives such as reduced congestion, pollution or crashes, particularly if matched with incentives to reduce automobile travel. For example, improvements in transportation options and land use accessibility can offset the negative consumer impacts of strategies such as Parking Pricing, Road Pricing and Vehicle Restrictions. The TDM Evaluation chapter describes how to account for the various travel and economic impacts of changes in accessibility.



Strategies to Improve Access

There are many ways to improve accessibility. Major categories are described below.


Table 3            Potential Accessibility Improvement Strategies (VTPI, 2006)


Improvement Strategies

Access and Mobility Demand

Use research to better understand people’s accessibility and mobility needs, preferences and abilities, and use social marketing strategies to develop better options that respond to these demand, and to encourage consumers to choose more efficient and equitable options.

Basic Access and Mobility

Prioritize transportation improvements and activities to favor access to goods, services and activities considered most important to society.


Improve traffic speed and capacity, such as improving and expanding roadways.

Transportation Options

Improve the convenience, comfort, safety, reliability, affordability and speed of transport options, including walking, cycling, automobile, rideshare, taxi, carshare and public transit.

User Information

Improve the quantity and quality of User Information regarding travel and location options, including signs, maps, brochures, websites and telephone services. Special attention can be given to providing convenient information on alternative modes and efficient locations.


Improve connections between different modes and destinations, such as more integrated information, fares, walkability, baggage transfers, automobile and bicycle parking.


Improve the quantity and quality of affordable modes (walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transit, taxi and telework), and improve housing affordability in accessible locations.

Mobility Substitutes

Improve the quantity and quality of telecommunications and delivery services that substitute for physical travel.

Land Use Factors

Improve land use accessibility by increasing density and mix, in order to create activity centers and urban villages that contain the appropriate combination of housing, jobs and services within convenient walking and cycling distance.

Transport Network Connectivity

Improve road and path connectivity to allow more direct travel between destinations, including special shortcuts for non-motorized travel where appropriate.

Roadway Design and Management

Improve roadways to increase traffic flow (for example, by reducing the number of driveways), to favor higher occupant vehicles, and to improve walking and cycling conditions.

Mobility Management

Use mobility and parking management strategies to improve travel options, to encourage users to choose more efficient modes, to favor higher occupant vehicles, and to encourage more accessible land use development.

Improve Payment Systems

Better road and parking pricing methods reduce transaction costs and increase the feasibility of implementing pricing reforms to increase overall transportation system efficiency.


Where appropriate, limit mobility and accessibility.

This table indicates various ways to improve accessibility. Current transport planning practices tend to focus on just a few of these strategies, which limits the scope of solutions considered.




Vehicle Travel

Transportation System: Building and paving more roads, increasing roadway capacity and design speeds, improving traffic flow management, improving parking facility capacity and convenience, reducing roadway risks, improving vehicle performance and safety, and minimizing vehicle user charges. However, in urban areas it is often not feasible to build enough road capacity to handle demand, leading to traffic congestion. Increasing roadway capacity may do little to reduce urban-peak travel demand due to latent demand (Rebound Effects).


Land use Patterns: Automobile accessibility improves if common destinations are located with convenient access to major highways and abundant parking capacity.



Ridesharing and Carsharing

Transportation System: Ridesharing can be supported with carpool matching services, vanpool programs, HOV Priority, Guaranteed Ride Home programs, and rewards for commuters who use this mode (Commuter Financial Incentives). Carsharing can be supported by insuring that such services are available in a community. Otherwise, strategies that improve automobile travel also support Ridesharing and Carsharing.


Land use Patterns: Ridesharing becomes more feasible if common destinations are Clustered together, with good pedestrian access between worksites and amenities such as restaurants and shops. Other land use factors that improve automobile transportation tend to improve these modes.



Transit Services

Transportation System: Transit Improvements include increased service, reduced fares, more convenient pricing systems, improved vehicles, HOV Priority, improved transit stations and waiting areas, improved rider information and Marketing programs, improved access to transit stops, Park & Ride facilities, improved Security for transit users and pedestrians. Shah and Adhvaryu (2016) developed a framework for measuring door-to-door public transit accessibility, taking into account walking and waiting, in addition to in-vehicle travel time.


Land use Patterns: Transit is most convenient if common destinations are closely clustered near transit stations and along corridors with maximum transit service, with pedestrian-oriented development within one-half mile of transit stops. Policies that encourage clustering, infill development, mixed land use, more attractive street environments, pedestrian and bicycle access and reduced automobile parking (except at Park & Ride facilities) improve transit accessibility.



Nonmotorized Transportation

Transportation System: Nonmotorized Improvements include improved sidewalks, crosswalks, paths, bikelanes, shortcut paths, Traffic Calming and Vehicle Restrictions, Safety education, law enforcement and encouragement programs, integration with transit (Bike/Transit Integration and Transit Oriented Development), Bicycle Parking and Address Security Concerns.


Land use Patterns: Higher-density, clustered, mixed land use is particularly important for pedestrian access. Narrow roads, short blocks and shortcuts that allow more direct access for nonmotorized travel. New Urbanist design features tend to support nonmotorized accessibility.



Mobility Substitutes

Transportation System:  Improved telecommunications services, and Commute Trip Reduction programs that support Telework. Delivery services can be improved with policies that favor delivery vehicles over general traffic (e.g., allowing freight vehicles to use HOV lanes and delivery vehicle parking spaces).


Land use Patterns: Telework can function with virtually any land use pattern. Delivery services are more efficient with clustered development.



Land Use

Increased land use accessibility tends to reduce automobile trips and trip distances (Land Use Impacts on Transportation). A residence or worksite in an accessible location tends to generate significantly fewer automobile trips (typically 25% less), and the trips that occur tend to be shorter, than if the same facility is located in a more isolated location. Land use policies that increase the number of stores, schools, restaurants, jobs and friends within a community can have the same effect on accessibility as a technology that increases travel speeds. Programs that make accessible locations (such as older urban neighborhoods) more affordable, safer and socially acceptable can also improve access.



Best Practices

Chapman and Weir (2008) and Litman (2008) provide specific recommendations for evaluating and improving accessibility.


·         Transportation should be evaluated based on Accessibility, rather than treating mobility as an end in itself.


·         Transportation and land use planning should be integrated to optimize access. For example, land use policies should encourage clustering in areas that have good walking and cycling conditions, and good transit service.


·         Transportation Planning should consider a wide range of strategies for improving Accessibility, including improvements to vehicle traffic, transit, nonmotorized transportation, mobility substitutes and more accessible land use.


·         Accessibility planning should also consider efforts to improve consumer information, affordability, convenience, security and public image of transportation and land use options. Stakeholders should be consulted to identify all potential barriers they perceive to improved access.


·         In higher density areas, the amount of land devoted to roads and parking should be minimized, for example, through Shared Parking and other Parking Management strategies.


·         Special consideration should be given to providing Basic Access for people who are transportation disadvantaged, including Universal Design.


·         Special consideration should be given to Pedestrian Improvements because pedestrian access is important on its own and critical for other modes and other TDM strategies, including ridesharing, public transit and parking management.


·         Accessibility improvements should be implemented with incentives to reduce low-value automobile travel and encourage shifts to alternative modes.


·         Analysis of strategies for improving access should consider impacts on different groups, locations and times. For example, a planner may say that “Widening this road will improve access for motorists, but reduces access for pedestrians and most transit users,” or “Increasing minimum parking requirements in the zoning code will improve automobile access, but may help create more dispersed land use patterns that are less accessible overall.”


·         Transportation planning should account for the benefits of inaccessibility and the external costs of vehicle traffic. Transportation policies should limit access and mobility when doing so preserves valuable social or environmental amenities.



Wit and Humor

A city-slicker driving along a quiet country road stops to ask an old farmer for directions to a town in the next county.

The farmer ponders the question for a moment and replies, “I’m afraid you can’t get there from here.”


Note: This old joke is amusing because it contradicts what we know of transportation. Given accurate directions and sufficient fuel a motorist can reach just about any location on a public road. But if the visitor were walking, the situation would not be so funny. Rather than suggesting that the destination is generally inaccessible, it could mean, “You can’t get there, at least not on foot.” It is tragic rather than comic that certain groups of people cannot reach a desired destination because of limited travel choices.



Examples and Case Studies


Sugar Access (

CityLab’s Sugar Access is an integrated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software program that communities can use to quantify the access (time and financial costs) of accessing various types of services and activities (healthcare, shops, schools, jobs, parks, etc.) by various travel modes in a particular area.


Moving to Access Initiative (

The Brookings Institution’s Moving to Access Initiative aims to inform and promote access-oriented urban transportation policy, planning, investment, and services. The Initiative looks to move beyond theory and accelerate the adoption of these innovative efforts, exploring new tools, techniques, and performance measures across the developing and developed world. The program has published the following reports:

·         Developing a Common Narrative on Urban Accessibility: Overview, by Jeffrey Gutman and Adie Tomer

·         Developing a Common Narrative on Urban Accessibility: A Transportation Perspective, by Christo Venter

·         Developing a Common Narrative on Urban Accessibility: An Urban Planning Perspective, by Gilles Duranton and Erick Guerra

·         Developing a Common Narrative on Urban Accessibility: A Fiscal / Finance Perspective, by Shahid Yusuf



Access to Destinations (

Access to Destinations is an interdisciplinary research program by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies which uses a more comprehensive approach to understanding how people use the transportation system, and how transportation and land use interact. It reflects the concept of accessibility: the ability of people to reach destinations that meet their needs. It considers multiple modes of transportation, including non-motorized transport, public transit, and automobile use. Accessibility is also concerned with land use and development patterns, and the ways in which land use influences and is affected by transportation.


The researchers refined methods for calculating auto and non-auto travel times, developed methods for describing how our regional accessibility changes, developed tools for evaluating how various transportation and land-use policies affect future accessibility and created an interactive Metro Accessibility Matrix Internet tool that lets users generate accessibility maps for Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St Paul) region.


Key findings:



Urban Accessibility Explorer (

The Metropolitan Chicago Accessibility Explorer is an easy-to-use mapping system that measures the number of activities, including various types of jobs, schools, parks, stores and libraries, that can be reached by residents of a specified neighborhood within a given amount of travel time, by a particular mode and time of day in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The results are displayed on maps which can be adjusted by scale and area. The Accessibility Explorer was developed by the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at University of Illinois at Chicago help policy makers, planners and the general public easily evaluate how transportation system and land use change could alter accessibility.


Access To Jobs Mapping System (

The Access to Jobs interactive mapping system shows the number of suitable jobs available within a given commute travel time by various travel modes and job categories. It was produced as part of the Fragile Success ( regional performance evaluation which examines economic, social and environmental tends in the New York metropolitan region for strategic planning purposes (RPA 2014). The study, Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods (Kaufman, et al. 2014), provides neighborhood-scale information on job access.



References And Resources For More Information


Access Across America ( and the Accessibility Observatory ( measure accessibility to jobs via various modes of transportation in major metropolitan areas across the United States.


Accessibility Observatory ( is a leading resource for the research and application of accessibility-based transportation system evaluation.


Keith Bartholomew (2007), “The Machine, The Garden, and The City: Toward an Access-Efficient Transportation Planning System,” The Environmental Law Reporter News & Analysis, Vol XXXVII, No. 8 (, August, pp. 10593-10614; at


Udo Becker, Juliane Bohmer and Regine Gerike (2008), How to Define and Measure Access and Need Satisfaction in Transport, Papers from the ESF-Exploratory Workshop Dresden 27-28 September 2007, Dresdner Institut fur Verkehr und Umwelt (; at


Brookings Institution (2016), Moving To Access Initiative; Brookings Institution (; at


BTS (2001), Special Issue on Methodological Issues in Accessibility: Journal of Transportation and Statistics, Vol. 4, No. 2/3, Bureau of Transportation Statistics (, Sept/Dec 2001.


Susan Chapman and Doug Weir (2008), Accessibility Planning Methods, Research Report 363, New Zealand Transportation Agency (


COST Accessibility Instruments ( is a program to develop practical tools for accessibility planning.


CTS (2010), Measuring What Matters: Access to Destinations, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota (; at


Xiaojing Dong, Moshe Ben-Akiva, John Bowman and Joan Walker (2006), “Moving From Trip-Based to Activity-Based Measures of Accessibility,” Transportation Research A, Volume 40, Issue 2 (, February, pp. 163-180.


Ahmed El-Geneidy and David Levinson (2006), Access to Destinations: Development of Accessibility Measures, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota (; at


Yingling Fan and Arthur Huang (2011), How Affordable is Transportation? An Accessibility-Based Evaluation, CTS Report 11-12, Transitway Impacts Research Program, Center for Transportation Studies (; at


David J. Forkenbrock and Glen E. Weisbrod (2001), Guidebook for Assessing the Social and Economic Effects of Transportation Projects, NCHRP Report 456, Transportation Research Board (, 2001.


K.T. Geurs, and J.R. Ritsema van Eck (2002), Accessibility Measures: Review and Applications: Evaluation of Accessibility Impacts of Land-Use Transport Scenarios, and Related Social and Economic Impacts, Report #408505 006, Rijksinstituut Voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) (


Karst T. Geurs (2006), Accessibility, Land Use and Transport: Accessibility Evaluation of Land-Use and Transport Developments and Policy Strategies, Eburon (; at


Jeff Gutman and Adie Tomer (2017), Developing a Common Narrative on Urban Accessibility: A Transportation Perspective, Moving to Access Program, Brookings Institution (; at


Derek Halden (2002), “Using Accessibility Measures to Integrate Land Use and Transport Policy In Edinburgh and Lothians,” Transport Policy, Vol. 9, No. 4 (, Oct. 2002, pp. 313-324.


Susan Handy (1993), “Regional Versus Local Accessibility; Neo-Traditional Development and its Implications for Non-Work Travel,” Built Environment, Vol. 18, No.4, pp. 253-267; available at University of California Transportation Center (Berkeley), #234 (


Susan Handy (1994), “Highway Blues: Nothing a Little Accessibility Can’t Cure,” Access 5 (, pp. 3-7; at


Peter Harris, Jamie Lewis and Barbara Adam (2004), “Time, Sustainable Transport and the Politics of Speed,” World Transport Policy And Practice, Vol. 10, No. 2 (, pp. 5-11.


Michael Iacono, Kevin Krizek and Ahmed El-Geneidy (2008), Access to Destinations: How Close is Close Enough? Estimating Accurate Distance Decay Functions for Multiple Modes and Different Purposes, Report 2008-11, University of Minnesota (; at


Sarah M. Kaufman, Mitchell L. Moss, Justin Tyndall and Jorge Hernandez (2014), Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods, Rudin Center for Transportation (; at


Kara Kockelman (1997), “Travel Behavior as a Function of Accessibility, Land Use Mixing, and Land Use Balance: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area,” Transportation Research Record 1607, TRB (; at


Jonathan Levine, Joe Grengs, Qingyun Shen and Qing Shen (2012), “Does Accessibility Require Density or Speed?” Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 78, No. 2, pp. 157-172,; at


David Levinson (2013), Access Across America, Report 13, Access to Destinations Study, Center for Transportation at the University of Minnesota (; at


David Levinson and Ahmed El-Geneidy (2006), Development of Accessibility Measures, Report No. 1 in the Series: Access to Destinations (Mn/DOT 2006-16), University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies (


David Levinson, Kevin Krizek and David Gillen (2005), “Machine for Access,” in Access to Destinations (ed. David Levinson and Kevin Krizek) Elsevier Publishers; at


Todd Litman (2001), You Can Get There from Here; Evaluating Transportation Diversity, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2003), “Measuring Transportation: Traffic, Mobility and Accessibility,” ITE Journal (, Vol. 73, No. 10, October, pp. 28-32, at


Todd Litman (2007), Land Use Impacts On Transport: How Land Use Factors Affect Travel Behavior, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2008), Evaluating Accessibility for Transportation Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2009), Multi-Modal Transport Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2012), Toward More Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Transport Evaluation, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2013), “The New Transportation Planning Paradigm,” ITE Journal (, Vo. 83, No. 6, pp. 20-28; at


Patricia Mokhtarian and Ilan Salomon (2001), “How Derived is the Demand for Travel? Some Conceptual and Measurement Considerations,” Transportation Research A, Vol. 35, No. 8 ( September 2001, pp. 695-719.


Montana Transportation and Land Use Toolkit ( provides best practices for better coordinating transportation and land use decisions.


Debbie Neimeier (1997), “Accessibility: An Evaluation Using Consumer Welfare,” Transportation, Vol. 24, No. 4, Klewer (, Nov., pp. 377-396.


Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy (1999), Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence, Island Press (


Opportunity Score ( ranks locations in 350 U.S. cities based on the number of jobs that can be accessed within a 30-minute walk or transit ride.


Stacy Rendall, Shannon Page, Fernke Reitsma, Elijah Van Houten and Susan Krumdieck (2011), “Quantifying Transport Energy Resilience: Active Mode Accessibility,” Transportation Research Record 2242, Transportation Research Board (, pp. 72-80; at


Revision ( is a regional mapping, analysis and visualization program integrates a range of public and private data and performance indicators suitable for sustainable community evaluation. 


Philipp Rode and Graham Floater (2014), Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form, NCE Cities – Paper #3, by the London School of Economics’ LSE Cities program (, for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate’s New Climate Economy Cities Program  (; at


William Ross (2000), “Mobility and Accessibility: The Yin and Yang of Planning,” World Transport Policy & Practice (, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 13-19.


K. H. Schaeffer and Elliot Sclar (1980), Access for All, Columbia University Press (New York).


Andreas Schafer (2000), “Regularities in Travel Demand: An International Perspective,” Journal of Transportation and Statistics, Vol. 3, No. 3 (, December 2000, pp. 1-32; at  


Jay Shah and Bhargav Adhvaryu (2016), “Public Transport Accessibility Levels for Ahmedabad, India,” Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 19-35 (; at


Transport Geography on the Web ( is an Internet resource to promote access to transport geography information, including articles, maps, figures, and datatsets.


Toolbox for Regional Policy Analysis Website ( by the US Federal Highway Administration, describes analytical methods for evaluating regional economic, social and environmental impacts of various transportation and land use policies.


Travel Time and Housing Price Maps ( This interactive mapping system shows both travel times to the city center and housing costs for various locations in London.


Urban Accessibility Explorer ( is an easy-to-use mapping system that measures the number of activities, including jobs, schools, parks, stores and libraries, which can be reached by residents of a specified neighborhood within a given amount of travel time, by a particular mode and time of day in the Chicago Metropolitan area.


USDOT (2010), Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: The Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations - A Desk Reference, Planning for Operations, US Department of Transportation (; at


Ming Zhang (2005), “Intercity Variations In The Relationship Between Urban Form And Automobile Dependence: Disaggregate Analyses Of Boston, Portland, And Houston,” Transportation Research Record 1902, TRB (, pp. 55-62.

Thanks to Sumit Adhikari, William Ross and John Ernst who contributed to this chapter.

This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.




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