Challenges for Europe and North America
NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research
Edited by Karst T. Geurs, Kevin J. Krizek and Aura Reggiani
Chapter 11: A justice-theoretic exploration of accessibility measures
As the various problems posed by mobility planning have increased in severity, interest in accessibility planning in both academia and practice has grown (Department for Transport, 2004; Lucas, 2006; Curtis and Scheurer, 2010). The call for a shift towards accessibility planning inevitably implies the need to develop and apply adequate accessibility indicators to assess the performance of transport systems and, increasingly, of integrated land-use and transport interventions. Alongside regional issues, accessibility measures can generate insight into the level of accessibility for specific user groups, whether by geographical location, mode availability, income, race, or travel motive (work, leisure, business, freight). As a consequence, accessibility measures can be used to address the distributive question in transport: who reaps the accessibility benefits from investments in the transport system? The choice of accessibility measures, however, may affect the result of a distributive investigation. Different measures may highlight different distributive patterns and hence point to the need for different policy responses. We argue, therefore, that the choice of accessibility measures employed to address distributive questions should be based on a clear understanding of the distributive question in transport. An exercise into understanding and developing a justice-theoretic approach to transport arguably requires three steps. Firstly, one must define the focus or dimension of an equity analysis in the field of transport (that is, what should be distributed in a fair way?). In the philosophical literature on social justice this central dimension of comparison is termed the ‘equalizandum’. Secondly, there is a need to derive a proper distributive goal regarding the equalizandum identified in the first step (that is, to answer the question: what constitutes a fair distribution of the equalizandum?). Finally, it is necessary to define measures that can be employed to determine progress towards the distributive goal identified in the second step. In this chapter, we perform step one: we explore what should be the focus of an equity analysis in transport. This will provide the first coordinates regarding the types of accessibility measures to be used in equity analyses of transport policies.
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