Examining the Role of Urban Form In Shaping People’s Accessibility to Opportunities: An Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis

This study employs a suite of accessibility indices to investigate whether American cities are designed in such a way that the locations of goods, services, and other opportunities favor certain socio-economic groups over others. In so doing, the study’s findings contribute to pressing policy issues such as social exclusion. Seven counties of the Louisville, Kentucky- Indiana MSA serve as the study area for the investigation. Data are derived from three sources: a geocoded travel diary survey, a geocoded database of all opportunities in the area, and a database of shortest-path travel times. Accessibility indices (gravity, cumulative opportunity, and proximity) are defined for 34 types of opportunities: four aggregate types and 30 disaggregate types representing the 10 most popular destinations for trips for each of the first three aggregate types. These indices are computed for households that responded to the trip-diary survey. Non-parametric Wilcoxon rank sum tests are used to compare the levels of accessibility experienced by five socio-economic groups (i.e., individuals residing in rural communities, individuals residing in single-person and single-parent households, individuals residing in low income households, women, and the elderly) to counterpart groups. Except for individuals residing in rural areas, the findings of this study indicate that groups conventionally considered to be at risk of social exclusion are not disadvantaged in terms of accessibility.


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  • Accession Number: 01141986
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 4 2009 6:42AM