ITE Journal - May 2021 - 49

Putting Metrics Into Practice
Accessibility analysis lets planners and designers assign hard
numbers to transportation investments and land use changes so
that various options can be assessed separately or against each
other. Assume, for instance, that a new bicycle and pedestrian
overpass is planned, along with traffic calming in both directions,
as shown in Figure 3. We can quantify the impacts in a number
of ways. To begin with, a person living at point A on the map can
walk to the nearby transit station in 16 minutes instead of 30, or
they can bike in 6 minutes instead of 13. That also means that
within a 30-minute travel time, they can reach approximately
150,000 jobs by transit instead of 110,000. Repeating this
calculation block by block tells us the average household within
one mile of the project gains access to 2,000 jobs.
Similarly, if we are not only interested in jobs, we can also use
an index of non-work destinations (stores, schools, and other
essential services) to measure walking accessibility on a 0-to-100point scale, similar to the well-known Walk Score. By this measure,
a person at point A gains about two accessibility points, which
is also the average increase for all households within one mile of
the project, also depicted in Figure 3.
Different travel time thresholds can be defined, or jobs and
other destinations can be weighted based on how far away are
using travel time decay functions, which produces a variety of
useful metrics, as shown in Table 1. Any one of these metrics
or combinations of different metrics allow for consistent
comparisons of existing conditions and project impacts
across modes.

requires an agreed-upon process and decision rules built around
the concept. Long-range plans are a logical place to present current
accessibility levels and set long-term accessibility goals, but-as
with any goal-incorporating appropriate metrics into project
prioritization, design, and other downstream decision points is
what really gives them impact. itej

References
1.	 Guida, Carmen, and Matteo Caglioni. 2020. " Urban Accessibility: The
Paradox, the Paradigms and the Measures. A Scientific Review. " TeMA Journal of Land Use Mobility and Environment (August): 149-68.
2.	 Sundquist, Eric, Chris McCahill, and Michael Brenneis. 2021. " Measuring
Accessibility: A Guide for Transportation and Land Use Practitioners. "
State Smart Transportation Initiative. https://ssti.us/accessibility-analysis/
(Accessed March 30, 2021).

3.	 Dumbaugh, Eric, Jeffrey Tumlin, and Wesley E. Marshall. 2014. " Decisions,
Values, and Data: Understanding Bias in Transportation Performance
Measures. " ITE Journal 84 (8): 20-25.
4.	 Boisjoly, Geneviève, and Ahmed M. El-Geneidy. 2017. " The Insider: A
Planners' Perspective on Accessibility. " Journal of Transport Geography 64
(July): 33-43.
5.	 Levinson, David. 2020. " Towards a General Theory of Access. " Journal of
Transport and Land Use 13 (1): 129-58.
6.	 McGuckin, N., and A. Fucci. 2018. " Summary of Travel Trends: 2017
National Household Travel Survey. " Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of
Transportation.

Eric Sundquist, Ph.D. is sustainability advisor at the
California Department of Transportation, where he
focuses on programs that reduce the need to drive.
Until April 2021 he served as director of the State
Smart Transportation Initiative at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. In that role, he conducted numerous innovative
technical assistance and policy-implementation efforts, including the
development of accessibility-based project selection metrics for
Virginia DOT and a two-year review of transportation practice and
policy in California. He has chaired the Transportation Research
Board's Social, Economic, and Cultural Issues Section (ADD00) and
has been a member of several committees. He has also served on two
local planning commissions in Madison, WI, USA, and
Decatur, GA, USA.
Chris McCahill, Ph.D. is director of the State Smart
Transportation Initiative at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. In that role he leads SSTI's
research and technical assistance programs and
organizes a community of practice among state DOT
leaders. He has supported the development and implementation of
accessibility metrics by transportation agencies in the U.S. states of
Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. He has also
written numerous studies on urban transportation policy, including
chapters for Parking: Issues and Policies and Parking and the City,
and co-edited a special issue called, " [Re]Evaluating how we value
transportation, " for Research in Transportation & Business
Management. He serves on the Transportation Commission and the
Transportation Policy and Planning Board for the
City of Madison, WI, USA.

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