Robert Johns, Former Director, Center for Transportation Studies
Conventional transportation planning is often focused on improving movement (or mobility), most often by the automobile. To the extent that accessibility has been measured or used in transportation planning, such measures have also been auto-based. Broadening the scope of accessibility to include a wide array of destinations and non-auto modes such as walking, cycling, and transit, has been previously proposed as a much needed aim among planning initiatives. A central issue is that there have been few examples of measures to draw from, to-date.This study addresses such hurdles, presents alternatives for overcoming them, and demonstrates how accessibility for walking, cycling, and transit (and for different types of destinations) can be reliably measured. The researchers focus on explaining specific features of non-motorized transportation that complicate the development of accessibility measures, and offer solutions that conform to conventional transportation planning practice. In this research project, non-motorized measures of accessibility were developed for the entire seven counties of the Twin Cities (Minnesota, USA) metropolitan area. In what is likely to be an enduring period of constrained public resources, lawmakers and government executives will seek the best information possible for making policy choices and deciding where to make public investments. In a landmark series of studies known as Access to Destinations, the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota has opened up new frontiers of information for better policy and investment decisions.