Measuring transport accessibility

Transport planners are guided by regulations related to mobility, but accessibility requirements relate to what people can achieve.  Accessible transport systems cannot be measured objectively like length or weight but rather by what it enables users to do. So we need a way to merge accessibility measures with infrastructure measures. But how do you measure transport accessibility? 

Jonathan Levine presents some interesting concepts about accessibility and mobility in his discussion paper. He explores the conceptual barriers to shifting transport planning from mobility to accessibility. Levine also presents a technique for analysing project-level accessibility analysis. 

His thoughts highlight the different goals of accessibility and mobility and how they can be brought together. Transport rules and regulations are the current guiding tools focused on mobility. They are about traffic impact, land use, and transport demands. So embedding accessibility in transport planning requires some new accessibility tools. 

One of the issues with adopting equity principles is that they are usually only seen from a transport disadvantage viewpoint. But everyone benefits when their accessibility increases. Using an accessibility approach enables transport planners to focus on human performance rather than infrastructure performance. 

Ann Arbor is the subject of a case study where Levine analyses the accessibility impact on three land use development projects. This is where the paper becomes technical. 

Levine’s proposed method goes beyond the mobility focus and concepts such as the cost of congestion. The tool takes a standard traffic impact analysis and combines it with an accessibility analysis of an individual land development project. 

The title of the discussion paper is, The Accessibility Shift: Conceptual Obstacles and How to Overcome (one of) Them



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