Use of Geographical Accessibility Indicators in Policy Making

Geographical accessibility indicators are accessibility indicators that account for both changes in land use (activities) as well as for changes in the transport system (e.g. travel times). These indicators are already for a long-time part of the academic literature on accessibility (Geurs K. and Ritsema van Eck 2001 and 2003, Schreurer and Curtis 2007, Bath et al. 2000). In practice however these indicators still play a minor role in the actual policy making in most countries and cities (Hull et al, 2012, Papa E et al, 2005). A reason for this is the sectoral set up of the government which results in a focus on mostly domain specific (rail or road) network indicators. Over the last years this rigid sector approach is changing driven by a combination of climate and livability concern, especially for the urban areas, and decreasing support for road investments. Both the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management as well as the Ministry of Interior in the Netherlands have called in their vision statements for a more integrated approach towards transport and land use. Up to now this ambition was stated at a more abstract level and it is the challenge to include this in the actual policy making process. The forthcoming national transport market and capacity analyses (NMCA) 2020/21 offers a good opportunity for this. This study is executed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, in general with intervals of four years, to inform the newly elected government about the future accessibility challenges. This paper reports on the findings of two pre-studies in 2018 and 2019 for the NMCA to explore the use of geographical accessibility indicators in policy making in the Netherlands. The studies have focused on two main policy making tasks, identifying future challenges and evaluating the impacts of policy measures. In the study various geographical indicators were tested on their potential contribution to these two policy tasks. The geographical indicators tested in the study vary by type of indicator, like use of fixed time intervals or functions for acceptable travel times estimated on observed behavior and the inclusion of competition for activities or not (e.g. size and location of labor force in case of accessibility of jobs). These indicators have been calculated for scenario developments, to identify future challenges, and to calculate accessibility impacts of land use or transport policy measures at a national and regional scale level. The accessibility indicators have been applied for various policy domains, such as individual and/or economic development, and their relevant travel purposes like accessibility of jobs (for workforce), of employees (for firms), education, shopping and healthcare. Findings of this study on the use of geographical indicators for identifying future policy challenges are: • Interpretation of geographical accessibility maps and results works out differently and does not present a direct map with bottlenecks like for the traditional network indicators; • A successful use of these indicators requires a shift in focus from a traditional bottlenecks (congestion) approach to a broader opportunity focused approach. The challenges and goals should therefore be formulated in close interaction with exogenous scenario developments and vary by region. In this approach the added value is in realizing opportunities that are offered by future developments and how undesirable developments can be mitigated; • The indicator offers additional insight in how accessibility is influenced by exogenous developments (e.g. international migration or economic growth), spatial developments (e.g. housing or office development sites) and changes in the transport system (e.g. road infrastructure of PT service levels); • The future accessibility challenges can be formulated region specific tailored to regional developments. The possible policy strategy to improve accessibility is now much broader and includes besides traditional infrastructure measures also land use options and guidance on the coordination with other policy fields.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Bibliography; Figures;
  • Pagination: 15p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2020

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01768546
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 19 2021 3:01PM