Accessibility, Equity and Efficiency

Accessibility, Equity and Efficiency

Challenges for Transport and Public Services

NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research

Edited by Karst T. Geurs, Roberto Patuelli and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho

Accessibility models not only help to explain spatial and transport developments in developed and developing countries but also are powerful tools to explain the equity and efficiency impacts of urban and transport policies and projects. In this book, leading researchers from around the world show the importance of accessibility in contemporary issues such as rural depopulation, investments in public services and public transport and transport infrastructure investments in Europe.

Chapter 6: Efficiency and equity indicators to evaluate different patterns of accessibility to public services: an application to Huambo, Angola

César Pakissi and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, transport


The spatial allocation of public services – provided by the state, by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or by the private sector – is an important issue, very much related to a broad concept of accessibility that involves economic growth, access to work, education and healthcare, and guarantees of sustainability and local planning (Kilby and Smith 2012). The allocation of public services is justified not only by the tension between territorial cohesion and efficient use of public funds, but also by the long-term implications for migration patterns and cumulative effects on urban growth and hierarchies generated by the spatial allocation of public services. This is more so in developing countries in which rural areas are very much characterized by subsistence economies, sometimes dependent on funds transferred from central governments that control the rents of territorial natural resources. The urban hierarchy of the allocation of public services and the related design of infrastructural networks also exert a strong pressure on migration and urbanization, generating slums in major urban areas and desertification in detached rural zones. Although the importance of investment in urban areas in developing countries is recognized, the concentration of public spending in urban areas reinforces migration into those areas, creating spatial disequilibrium; this is because, as stressed by Paul Krugman (1995), the growth of some African cities is promoted by the allocation of public spending which generates cumulative processes of public spending, migration, urban slums and more public spending.

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