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Accessibility (or just access) in transportation planning refers to the ease of reaching goods, services, activities and destinations, which together are called opportunities [1]. For example, is there sufficient road capacity and are there sufficient parking spaces? Are there good options for public transport? What is the average travel time to reach the centre? Accessibility can be defined in terms of potential (opportunities that could be reached) or in terms of activity (opportunities that are reached)[2].

A measure that is often used is to measure accessibility in a traffic analysis zone i is[3]:


  • = index of origin zones
  • = index of destination zones
  • = function of generalized travel cost (so that nearer or less expensive places are weighted more than farther or more expensive places).

A city with a good accessibility has good possibilities to get emergency services to an incident location, or to get people quickly out of the area in case of any danger.

Other meanings: The words accessibility and access can have various meanings and implications.
  • Accessibility generally refers to physical access to goods, services and destinations, which is what people usually mean by transportation.
  • In roadway engineering, access refers to connections to adjacent properties. Limited access roads have minimal connections to adjacent properties, while local roads provide direct access. Access management involves controlling the number of intersections and driveways
on a highway.
  • In the fields of geography and urban economics, accessibility refers to the relative ease of reaching a particular location or area.
  • In pedestrian planning and facility design accessible design (also called universal design ) refers to facilities designed to accommodate people with disabilities. For example, a pathway designed to accommodate people in wheelchairs may be called accessible.
  • In social planning, accessibility refers to people’s ability to use services and opportunities.


Footnotes and references

  1. From: Litman, T., Evaluating accessibility of transport planning, 2011. URL: retrieved on April 11, 2012.
  2. Ibid.
  3. From:, retrieved on April 11, 2012.