Accessibility and Spatial Interaction

Accessibility and Spatial Interaction

NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research

Edited by Ana Condeço-Melhorado, Aura Reggiani and Javier Gutiérrez

The concept of accessibility is linked to the level of opportunities available for spatial interaction (flows of people, goods or information) between a set of locations, through a physical and/or digital transport infrastructure network. Accessibility has proved to be a crucial tool for understanding the framework of sustainability policy in light of best practice planning and decision-making processes. Methods such as cost–benefit analysis, multi-criteria analysis and risk analysis can benefit greatly from embedding accessibility results. This book presents a cohesive collection of recent studies, modeling and discussing spatial interaction by means of accessibility indicators

Chapter 6: Spatial organization and accessibility: a study of US counties

Andrea De Montis, Simone Caschili and Daniele Trogu

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, transport, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, transport


The aim of spatial autocorrelation is to inspect the organization and structure of spatial phenomena. This statistical method allows one to scrutinize spatial patterns and relationships that generate relevant phenomena in territories under consideration. In fact, spatial phenomena are often self-determining and may positively or negatively influence adjacent units. Autocorrelation analysis pinpoints the mutual influence among spatial units as well as any polarizing effect around a specific area. In this chapter we use spatial autocorrelation analysis to scrutinize the level of spatial dependency of accessibility for commuters in continental US counties on the theoretical basis described above. Counties’ accessibility is computed according to gravity theory (spatial interaction models with impedance function obeying to exponential and power decay impendence functions). The scope of our study is to understand whether space influences counties’ accessibility. We first apply global and local univariate spatial autocorrelation analysis in order to test the hypothesis that counties with higher accessibility positively influence adjacent counties. Finally we test whether accessibility is spatially correlated with socio-demographic variables, such as residential population and income per capita. We develop a bivariate autocorrelation analysis to assess spatial dependencies between the accessibility of US counties and socio-economic variables both at the global and at the local level.

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