Accessibility by Proximity tool – A report on its application

Introduction

About GOAT

GOAT is an open-source web tool designed for local accessibility analysis and mainly runs on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data (Pajares et al. 2021; Büttner, Jehle, and Linares Ramirez 2021). It contains different indicators (isochrones, multi-isochrones, and heatmaps) and includes several modes: walking (standard, senior), cycling (standard, pedelec), and wheelchair (standard, electric). The main aim of GOAT is to support cities and planners in making the right decisions in favour of sustainable mobility. The tool identifies shortcomings by visualizing current accessibility levels. In addition, scenarios on changes in ways, points of interest (POIs), and buildings can be modelled, and their effects on accessibility assessed. In addition, it can, e.g., analyze which accessibility benefits a new pedestrian bridge over a river or which location is the best suited to place a new bike-sharing station. Although many planners regard GOAT as a helpful tool, it lacks the temporal and individual components of accessibility. The first component reflects time constraints related to both the availability of opportunities during the day and the availability of time for individuals to use such options. The individual component reflects individuals’ needs, abilities, and opportunities that can influence access to transport and their ability to participate in opportunities (Geurs and van Wee 2004).

New functionalities

Including the IAPI in GOAT (see Chapter Integration of the IAPI in GOAT) could enrich the tool with a comprehensive analysis option on a neighbourhood scale that gives a good impression of how well different districts perform in terms of local accessibility. At the same time, GOAT gives a suitable “stage” to the IAPI and makes it easily accessible through the web interface. The IAPI and the existing indicators complement each other and can result in a comprehensive instrument for walking, cycling, and wheelchair users.

Besides, GOAT has looked to include accessibility indicators in its analysis and scenarios. Therefore, it has been included three big features:

  • Accessibility to green spaces.
  • Accessibility analysis for public transport. It includes further public transport indicators.
  • Accessibility analysis for cars. However, this function is currently in the beta-version.

In addition, the streetscape quality in GOAT is enhanced by small-scale analysis options. To test it, GOAT was transferred to two study areas in Munich (Glockenbachviertel and Neuhausen city districts). Therefore, spatial data such as road type, max speed, surface, sidewalk width, parking, illuminance, street furniture, trees, and land use were gathered for the study areas (Büttner, Jehle, and Linares Ramirez 2021).

Summary

The implementation of GOAT across the five EX-TRA cities has revealed a notable level of satisfaction among planners and a keen interest in delving deeper into the tool’s features. Each city had customized its version of GOAT tailored to suit their specific contextual needs.

The evaluation of GOAT’s performance showcases consistently high scores across all cities, with London achieving the highest value. These findings suggest that GOAT has the potential to support planners in performing accessibility analysis more effectively, aiming to answer their planning questions accurately.

In summary, the workshops conducted thus far have played a crucial role in GOAT’s development, implementation, and evaluation across the five EX-TRA cities. Each city’s progress varied depending on the availability of practitioners to participate in the workshops. As illustrated in Figure 41, all cities completed the three steps of the tool implementation.

In summary, the workshops conducted thus far have played a crucial role in GOAT’s development, implementation, and evaluation across the five EX-TRA cities. Each city’s progress varied depending on the availability of practitioners to participate in the workshops. As illustrated in Figure 41, all cities completed the three steps of the tool implementation.

Implementing the tool across all cities demonstrated its widespread adoption and acceptance among planners, indicating its potential as a valuable resource in urban planning initiatives.

However, notable barriers surfaced during implementation, particularly concerning the time required for users to learn how to use the tool and the availability and accuracy of data. Moreover, the voluntary nature of tool implementation and workshop participation posed challenges in garnering sufficient feedback from relevant stakeholders. Nonetheless, these engagements provided invaluable insights into refining the tool and streamlining its efficient integration within governmental frameworks.

These findings underscore the importance of addressing time constraints and enhancing data accessibility and accuracy to optimize the tool’s efficacy. Additionally, strategies to incentivize participation and gather comprehensive feedback will be essential for further improving its utility and ensuring its successful implementation in governmental contexts.

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Ex-plore more

Research

Un indice per misurare la accessibilità di prossimità

The Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity Index (IAPI) measures accessibility to essential services using GIS, focusing on conditions that enhance or hinder walkability, cyclability, and social interactions at the neighbourhood level. Its implementation in Bologna allowed for mapping the quality of pedestrian and cycling routes, evaluating accessibility to neighbourhood services via active mobility, and assessing the impact of pedestrianization interventions on the quality of routes and public spaces. With its ease of calculation, transferable approach using open-source data, and the ability to update indicators and coefficients, IAPI can support the development of multi-sector policies at various scales.

Article published in Italian.

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Research

Measuring accessibility by proximity for an inclusive city

Accessibility is crucial for social inclusion, influenced by transport systems, land use, temporal availability, and individual features. It measures people’s ability to engage in social life and activities contributing to their well-being. This paper introduces the Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity Index (IAPI), designed to assess accessibility to essential services and activities for local residents. IAPI considers the physical and perceptual characteristics of urban spaces and paths, reflecting different mobility needs and habits. It guides urban planning to promote walkability, cyclability, and active mobility, aiming for a sustainable and inclusive city. Using Bologna, Italy, as a testbed, the paper details the IAPI methodology, results, and steps for scalability and context sensitivity.

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Research

Making walking irresistible: enabling level-of-service measures to achieve their potential

Despite walking’s exceptional benefits, it receives surprisingly little attention. To address this, the potential of “level of service” (LOS) measures to highlight the status of walking is investigated. A literature survey on various LOS measures reveals their distinct evolutionary paths and the lack of true commensurability across modes. A micro-simulation modelling exercise suggests pedestrians fare worse than drivers, even where walking is promoted, confirming measurement anomalies across modes. The availability of “ideal speeds” is crucial for commensurability; thus, a critical assessment of “free-flow” speeds for vehicles proposes using sprinting speeds for pedestrians to gauge performance.

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Research

How Does Pedestrian Accessibility Vary for Different People? Development of a Perceived User-Specific Accessibility Measure for Walking (Paws)

Current accessibility measures often overlook the diverse needs of different user groups, leading to a mismatch between calculated and perceived accessibility. This paper proposes a new method that accounts for individual perceptions and walkability needs, developing Perceived user-specific Accessibility measures for Walking (PAWs) for seniors, children, women, and wheelchair users. By adjusting the Geo Open Accessibility Tool (GOAT) and using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), the most important walkability attributes are incorporated and weighted. Results from Munich reveal a nuanced understanding of pedestrian infrastructure, aiding urban planners in creating more inclusive, equitable environments that enhance quality of life and access to amenities.

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Guidelines

D4AMS handbook: How and why to use and lessons learned

The main research findings into the development of the D4AMS tool are translated here into a policy guidelines document. This document contains the most relevant findings for local policymakers concerning the impact of street experiments and shared mobility solutions on mobility. It also delves deeper into the different case studies and the methodologies applied. The policy guidelines include some major quick wins and key elements to take into consideration. Additionally, it gives insights into scenario building through agent-based-modelling and how to deal with assumptions made in the model. The key takeaways of this document can be found on the ‘policy guidelines’ page on the dashboard.

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Tools

GOAT (Geo Open Accessibility Tool)

GOAT is a digital planning tool designed to enhance sustainable mobility and urban development by integrating various accessibility indicators. It utilizes a broad spectrum of data, including points of interest, buildings, population data, land use, and environmental data. Tailored for local authorities, regions, and planning offices, GOAT aims to streamline planning processes, fostering efficiency, collaboration, and data-driven decision-making. Using OpenStreetMap data, it offers isochrones, multi-isochrones, heatmaps and scenarios supporting walking, cycling, and wheelchair accessibility assessments. Moreover, its digital accessibility facilitates participatory methods, engaging stakeholders, practitioners, citizens, and academics in exploring accessibility impacts in various cases.

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