New Accessibility Manual Summarizes Data, Methods, and Applications

By Eric Sundquist

Researchers for years have used accessibility, aka access to destinations, as a key measure of the success of the built environment in producing social and economic benefits. The concept, however, has only begun to take root in practice, in part because data and analytical tools were lacking for a long time. Now that good, if not always perfect, data and tools are available, the chief barrier to greater use is understanding – both how to measure accessibility and how to apply it to decisions.

Helping to fill this gap is a new manual from a committee of academics and practitioners led by David Levinson of the University of Sydney. It brings together a rich and broad literature on “doing” accessibility, describing motivations and uses as well as several methods for calculating metrics. Additionally, it provides practical advice on tools and data sources.

SSTI has long advocated for more use of accessibility in transportation planning and project development. We will soon publish a guide that goes deep into the cumulative opportunities method of measuring accessibility, with step-by-step instructions for running basic analyses. We hope our guide, along with the new manual, will accelerate the use of the concept.