Sunday, February 19, 2012


by Steve Abley

Accessibility is defined as the ability or ease with which activities, either economic or social, can be reached or accessed. Therefore, an accessibility assessment is the measurement of how easy it is for an individual to reach a desired activity, based on a set of measurable factors.
Accessibility is concerned with both the land use and the transport system, and provides an integrated way of assessing changes in one or the other or both. One of the earliest definitions is “Accessibility is a measurement of the spatial distribution of activities about a point, adjusted for the ability and the desire of people or firms to overcome spatial separation.” Accessibility includes three components: ‘access’, ‘opportunity’ and ‘mobility’. These are described as:
‘Access’ represents the ability to use the transportation network. For example a bus with a low floor enables mobility impaired people ease of boarding and access to the public transport network. Similarly being licensed to drive and having access to a vehicle enables people to use the road network.‘Opportunity’ represents the availability of a land use activity or service. For example the presence of a supermarket provides an opportunity for shopping, and a school or college provides opportunity for education. ‘Mobility’ represents the quality of moving through the various transportation networks. For example congestion on a highway often represents the level of mobility for vehicles. The amount of delay when crossing the street often represents the level of mobility for pedestrians. Expressions such as ‘level of service’, ‘average network speed’ and ‘operating capacities’ are terms commonly used to describe mobility.

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