Accessibility-Based Evaluation of Transportation and Land-Use Planning: From Laboratory to Practice

For decades, transportation planning—and the transportation aspects of land-use planning—have employed metrics of mobility as the centerpiece of their methodology. Highway level of service is notable among these and is used by both transportation planning (through its “predict-and-provide” approach) and land-use planning (through traffic-impact analysis) to both shape and evaluate development outcomes. Yet these approaches are inconsistent with the core understanding, shared among the transportation professions, that the purpose of transportation is not movement, but access. This notion implies that accessibility, rather than mobility, is the appropriate rubric under which to plan and evaluate transportation. The centrality of accessibility to transportation has been well understood in the research literature since the 1970s, but accessibility-based planning has been little incorporated into practice. Within this context, this project is an investigation into three questions: 1. What has been the impact of mobility-based planning on the planning process and physical outcomes; 2. What are the impediments to a shift to accessibility-based planning; and 3. What are approaches to overcoming those impediments? The first question was explored with five case studies of how mobility-based planning plays out in practice. Impediments to the mobility-to-accessibility shift were studied through a series of interviews and focus groups with transportation professionals and decision makers. Impediments ranged from technical challenges to institutional constraints to difficulties in communicating the idea of accessibility. One approach to overcoming the challenges of communicating is graphical. The report includes a graphical primer designed to communicate accessibility concepts to the planning professional and the layperson. Other approaches include introducing considerations and interests from beyond transportation, including economic and real-estate development, both of which are better attuned to the concept of accessibility than traditional transportation planning. Cities, being a relatively comprehensive and integrated level of government may have a particularly important role to play here, since accessibility inherently spans transportation and land use, realms traditionally institutionally divided from each another.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Tables;
  • Pagination: 114p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01628896
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NEXTRANS Project No. 135UMY2.1
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC05
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2017 4:44PM