Access to Destinations: Application of Accessibility Measures for Non-Auto Travel Modes
Conventional transportation planning is often focused on improving movement (or mobility)--most often by the automobile. To the extent that accessibility, a well-known concept in the transportation planning field since the 1950s, has been measured or used in transportation planning, such measures have also been auto-based. Broadening the scope of accessibility to include a wide array of destinations and non-auto modes such as walking, cycling, and transit has been previously proposed as a much needed aim among planning initiatives. A central issue is that to date, however, there have been few examples of measures draw from. When it comes to bicycling, walking, and transit measures of accessibility are an endeavor long on rhetoric but short on execution.
This report discusses such hurdles, presents alternatives for overcoming them, and demonstrates how accessibility for walking, cycling, and transit--and for different types of destinations--can be reliably measured. We focus on explaining specific features of non-motorized transportation that complicate the development of accessibility measures, and offer solutions that conform to conventional transportation planning practice. In this research project, non-motorized measures of accessibility were developed for the entire seven counties of the Twin Cities (Minnesota, USA) metropolitan area. For purposes of this exposition in this report, we discuss the details of creating such measures using a sample application from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA to demonstrate proof of concept for the endeavor.