Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Improving Transport Planning and Investment Through the Use of Accessibility Indices Workshop


Chair's Summary

This Workshop brought together a range of stakeholders and experts to share their experiences in operationalising accessibility indicators and to discuss the key issues and challenges for developing accessibility-oriented policy frameworks. Its objectives were to:

  • Analyse the capacity of different types of accessibility indices to capture interaction between land use and transport systems and accurately reflect access to employment, goods and services spatially and for different groups;
  • Identify best-practices and provide guidelines on how to operationalise accessibility indicators for improving spatial planning and increase coordination between land-use, housing and transport policies;
  • Deepen understanding of how incorporating accessibility indicators could guide investment decisions and aid in establishing priorities for designing and implementing schemes that effectively increase access to opportunities; and
  • Set out the challenges and possible solutions for progressively incorporating more sophisticated and accurate accessibility indices into the policy framework.

The ITF is working on a framework for comparing and benchmarking accessibility to services across cities.

The framework will be firstly developed for Europe, but is planned to be expanded at a global level in the future. This work will include a database and a visualisation tool that will use information from the database and show results for selected indicators. The aim is to emphasise the importance of: a) focusing transport-related comparison and ranking of cities on accessibility, rather than infrastructure and traffic measures, which continue to be often used by world-wide rankings; b) open discussions on the importance, not only of the transport but also the land-use dimension of accessibility; and c) bring attention to comparisons on the competitiveness of different modes of transport in cities (car, public transport, walking and cycling), and the relevance of taking into account neighborhood level accessibility.

Among the most important qualities of this work are the following: 

  • Building on previous work from ITF and the European Commission (EC), our work goes beyond measuring accessibility to transport services and calculates accessibility to opportunities (services of different categories).
  • In terms of the scale of analysis, the database benefits from a harmonised definition of metropolitan areas that the OECD and the EC have developed and that provides a better representation of the territory that forms a “functional economic unit”, referred to as Functional Urban Area (FUA). All results will be available for city cores, peripheries and the whole of the FUA of each city.
  • The database is also aligned with state of the art practice by providing indicators for multiple modes: walking, cycling, public transport and car. Thus providing the possibility to assess relative competitiveness of different modes, which is key to addressing sustainability concerns.