Subconference: Accessibility-Based Evaluation from Laboratory to Practice

Notes from the Accessibility subconference are available here.  

Transportation and land-use decisions In North America and Europe are commonly guided by evaluations of the quality or speed of movement, often by automobiles. This mode of decision making is predicated on the idea that that transportation success is evaluated in terms of people’s—or even vehicles’—ease of movement. Yet the purpose of transportation is not mobility per se, but access, or the capacity to reach destinations. Some mobility improvements will enhance this ability; others can degrade it in the long run by inducing origins and destinations to move farther and farther apart. . Rather than mobility, transportation evaluation should be grounded in accessibility, a concept that simultaneously incorporates the ease of movement, the proximity of relevant destinations, and the capacity to interact remotely via electronic connectivity.

The idea that accessibility is the proper goal of transportation policy has been evident in the research literature since the 1970s, but has scarcely entered practice. Yet accessibility itself is a readily measurable concept, and replacing movement-based with accessibility-based evaluation is central to transportation-policy reform. It is particularly important to improving transportation sustainability, since an accessibility focus opens up the possibility of system improvements through proximity and remote connectivity rather than the more environmentally consumptive mobility alone. The accessibility perspective also facilitates a focus on the distributional impacts of transportation policy between socioeconomic sectors. The subconference  "Accessibility-Based Evaluation from Laboratory to Practice" will bring together researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers to explore to explore the introduction and diffusion of accessibility-based evaluation in transportation and land-use practice in Europe and North America.  It will focus particularly on the obstacles to the growth of accessibility-based evaluation and approaches to overcoming those obstacles.

The subconference will be held on Monday, June 15, 2015 in conjunction with the NECTAR international conference and with the participation of NECTAR Cluster 6 (Accessibility). Presentation at the subconference is by invitation, but NECTAR papers that address the theme may be incorporated in subconference sessions. Invited participants in the subconference will be registered for the larger conference, and all registrants for the larger conference are invited to attend subconference sessions.