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Is there such a thing as good enough accessibility?

Conference paper
Authors Cecilia Silva
Anders Larsson
Published in Transportation Research Procedia, vol. 41, pp. 694-707
ISSN 2352-1465
Publisher Elsevier
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trpro.201...
Keywords Accessibility; Accessibility thresholds; Planning practice
Subject categories Other Civil Engineering, Physical planning, Human Geography

Abstract

There is growing evidence of un-reflected uses of accessibility measures making the shift to more sustainable urban development and travel behaviour nothing but a mere mirage. At the heart of these un-reflected uses seems to be the conceptual ambiguity still found around accessibility leading to an unsubstantial role in planning practice and policy. Here we argue that the search for an answer to the fundamental question of ‘how much accessibility is needed and is enough’ is one possible path to overcoming conceptual ambiguity. In line with this we argue in favour of the development of both minimum and maximum accessibility thresholds through collaborative processes and at the local level, as a potential pathway to the development of fundamental understanding on accessibility priorities and around the underlying objectives and values which are to be brought about by accessibility-based planning (such as, equity, economic development, environmental sustainability and ultimately quality of life). With a focus on the development of understanding rather than on the development of generalized standards, we put forward a research agenda on reference standards and on the processes for threshold development at the local level. The arguments raised here were developed with the involvement of several experts in the field (building on several initiatives developed over the year of 2017).

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