Metropolitan Accessibility and Transportation Sustainability: Comparative Indicators for Policy Reform. Project Summary
Study Objectives. Transportation policy—a prime shaper of the built environment in metropolitan areas—has historically been guided by the idea of ensuring and improving mobility. But it is accessibility—the capacity to reach destinations—that is the service people seek in a transportation system. We argue that sustainability in transportation and the built environment is furthered by a policy shift from mobility to accessibility as an overarching evaluative framework. This project will support such a shift by developing and estimating—for the first time—measures of accessibility that will enable a meaningful comparison between multiple metropolitan areas of the United States. An outcome of the research will be a new method—in the form of indicators that can be analyzed both within and between regions—by which to gauge the progress of policy on infrastructure and the built environment toward sustainability.
Research Design. The project will develop multiple measures of accessibility for 10-15 mid- to large-sized metropolitan regions. To inform land-use and transportation planning at the level of metropolitan region, the project will seek explain factors underpinning the differences in the accessibility observed among the selected regions. It will explore the connection between accessibility and characteristics of the built environment of the metropolitan regions, developing several measures of the urban form and transportation provision. These will be analyzed as inputs determining accessibility and sustainability outcomes.
Expected Results. Ultimately, we seek to accomplish for accessibility that which the Texas Transportation Institute’s well-known Urban Mobility Study does for mobility: affect the terms of the debate and establish a measurable basis for policymaking at the metropolitan and intermetropolitan scale. The interest the Graham Institute in sustainable infrstructure and the built environment represents a significant opportunity to inject accessibility—and hence sustainability—principles into transportation decision-making. We seek to spur the move within transportation circles toward accessibility-based transportation planning with this project as a base. Ultimately, we will seek ongoing funding for a sustained study of metropolitan accessibility in the United States and internationally.
For more information, contact Principal Investigator Jonathan Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org.