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Metropolitan Chicago Accessibility Mapping Project

Accessibility refers to the ease with which one can reach opportunities. It combines measures of mobility and land use and allows us to see what people can get to rather than how far or with what speed they can travel. Though accessibility and mobility are related ideas, they are not synonymous. As Handy (2002) points out, places of high mobility may have low accessibility on account of the built environment and places of high accessibility may have low mobility on account of substantial congestion. In addition to land use and mobility factors, accessibility measures can also include temporal and individual dimensions as pointed out by Geurs and VAnWee (2004).

The goal in this project is to provide an online platform that allows users (planners, transportation professionals, policy analysts, etc.) to measure accessibility for the metropolitan area of Chicago and to present the information in the most easily interpretable fashion. We thus adopt the cumulative opportunities measure as our main tool for the measurement of accessibility. This measure reports counts,area, etc. of different opportunities or land uses that can be reached from every origin in the region within some pre-specified travel times (for example, how many manufacturing job scan your each within a 30 minute travel time of a given location?).  The measures are simple and easily understood. They are presented for a range of opportunities (jobs,parks, schools, groceries, etc.), and at different time thresholds (ranging from 5 minutes to 60 minutes). For transit systems, accessibility is measured for different times of day, reflecting changes in service. Weighted accessibility measures are also presented that reflect the level of resident car ownership at origins. The presentation of the information also allows users to collect data from their location of interest by simply pointing their cursor at it. The goal is to enable a view of accessibility that can be as macro or as detailed as the analyst wishes it to be.

For more information, contact Nebiyou Tilahun.  Download final report.

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