Challenges for Europe and North America
Edited by Karst T. Geurs, Kevin J. Krizek and Aura Reggiani
Chapter 15: Accessibility: a key indicator to assess the past and future of urban mobility
During the 15 years 1995–2010 in France, urban transport policies have moved away from the objective of offering higher travel speeds toward more environmentally friendly forms of mobility, seeking to optimize urban space consumption. This new focus on optimized land use leads us to reconsider the value of travel time gains (Metz, 2008). Time gains are no longer the main objective of local public policies. Even if it is more a rationale of ‘traffic calming’ than a ‘return to slowness’, there is clearly another set of priorities changing the relative share of public space attributed to the different modes of transport. In a sustainability context, the new preference for surface public transport network, with the implementation of tram lines, has been done at the expense of road networks (Banister, 2008). This policy reorientation aims not only to solve congestion problems but also to impact upon spatial structures and land-use planning through increasing densities. In this context, the concept of accessibility (Hansen, 1959; Koenig, 1980; Geurs and van Wee, 2004) associating both travel time and the land-use component, is relevant to understand past evolutions and future challenges of urban mobility. In the same vein as cost–benefit analysis (CBA) but more focused on land use than on time gains, gravity accessibility helps to assess urban dynamics and to reveal the public objectives concerning urban spatial structure. Section 15.2 explains how theoretical accessibility formula may be modeled with the MOSART1 platform, implemented as a geographic information system transport (GIS-T) producing accessibility analysis. Section 15.3 documents the evolution of transport policies. Based on the past and current experiences of the Lyon urban area, the chapter focuses on the new priorities of urban transport policy in the Lyon urban area since the end of the 1990s. Thanks to some very explicit accessibility maps, it therefore becomes relatively easy to understand that it is as if local transport policies have decided to offer better accessibility only in dense and relatively less rich areas of the agglomeration.
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