1987 volume 19(6) pages 735 – 748

Cite as:
Hanson S, Schwab M, 1987, "Accessibility and intraurban travel" Environment and Planning A 19(6) 735 – 748

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Accessibility and intraurban travel

S Hanson, M Schwab

Received 8 August 1985; in revised form 22 July 1986

Abstract. This paper contains an examination of the fundamental assumption underlying the use of accessibility indicators: that an individual's travel behavior is related to his or her location vis-aé-vis the distribution of potential activity sites. First, the conceptual and measurement issues surrounding accessibility and its relationship to travel are reviewed; then, an access measure for individuals is formulated. Using data from the Uppsala (Sweden) Household Travel Survey and controlling for sex, automobile availability, and employment status, the authors explore the relationship between both home- and work-based accessibility and five aspects of an individual's travel: mode use, trip frequencies and travel distances for discretionary purposes, trip complexity, travel in conjunction with the journey to work, and size of the activity space. From the results it can be seen that although all of these travel characteristics are related to accessibility to some degree, the travel - accessibility relationship is not as strong as deductive formulations have implied. High accessibility levels are associated with higher proportions of travel by nonmotorized means, lower levels of automobile use, reduced travel distances for certain discretionary trip purposes, and smaller individual activity spaces. Furthermore, the density of activity sites around the workplace affects the distances travelled by employed people for discretionary purposes. Overall, accessibility level has a greater impact on mode use and travel distance than it does on discretionary trip frequency. This result was unexpected in light of the strong trip frequency - accessibility relationship posited frequently in the literature.

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