Accessibility indices and linked trips: a case study of the elderly

  • Andrew C. Southern

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The confusion over the concept of accessibility in transport planning and the deficiencies of existing accessibility indices are examined by developing a conceptual framework of accessibility with a fundamental distinction being drawn between the, often conflicting, theoretical and practical dimensions.
The theoretical validity of alternative indices is assessed with reference to the problems and assumptions implicit in defining, measuring, valuing and aggregating the variables and components
comprising accessibility. The major deficiencies of existing indices are identified as the inability of indices to take account of the potential to link trips between more than one activity location and
the level of assumptions implicit in valuing and aggregating accessibility information. In this context, it is argued that accessibility information is more appropriately expressed on a
comparative basis in the form of a profile rather than as a composite single-unit index and that the present confines of accessibility measurement must be extended in line with current developments in disaggregate travel and activity modelling.
The sensitivity of accessibility levels to the use of
alternative value judgements, alternative forms and levels of aggregation and the inclusion of information on the potential to link trips is examined by undertaking a case study. Accessibility
profiles are developed for 23 zones in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham showing the accessibility of the elderly to post offices and grocers. In a practical context, the profiles assist in identifying areas and individuals with relatively poor
accessibility. The incidence and nature of linked trip-making and its significance and implications for accessibility measurement are explored further by analysing the results of a survey of the elderly's travel patterns. It is concluded that future accessibility analysis should be undertaken at a disaggregate level, taking account of the potential opportunity available from nonhome as well as home origins.
Date of AwardMar 1982
Original languageEnglish


  • Accessibility
  • multi-purpose
  • elderly
  • inner-city
  • pedestrian

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