Eric Sundquist at SSTI writes: “Accessibility moves out of the lab and into practice”
Accessibility, long considered a more robust measure of transportation system success than simple mobility, is moving out of research and into practice, according to panelists on an SSTI webinar.
Accessibility measures the ease by which travelers can reach desired destinations, or “opportunities.” Often, but not always, it is measured in terms of time. As such, it combines both mobility and proximity of land uses, bringing together two directly connected public policy concerns that are often poorly integrated in decision-making.
While accessibility is not a new concept, data limitations have made it difficult to measure. Now it is becoming practice-ready, panelists said.
The webinar, broadcast Dec. 4, featured Andrew Owen of the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory, Richard Kuzmyak of Renaissance Planning Group, and Kate Sylvester of the Maryland DOT. Slides and a recording are available on the SSTI website.
Owen, who cited commentary in the conservative National Review and libertarian Reason Foundation about the benefit of accessibility measures, has been working with Minnesota DOT and now is developing a pooled fund study to mainstream accessibility measures across the country. Kuzmyak has applied accessibility measures in the Washington, D.C., area, including in a project with Sylvester’s Maryland DOT.
While both efforts aim to make use of accessibility for better transportation and land use decision-making, the approaches are somewhat different.
Owen’s group uses a cumulative opportunities count, generally using jobs as the critical opportunities. They estimate the number of opportunities that can be accessed by car and transit from neighborhoods around the nation within a set time, say 30 minutes. …