The Professional Geographer (1999) 51(2): 210-227.

Gender and Individual Access to Urban Opportunities:
A Study Using Space-time Measures

Mei-Po Kwan

Abstract: Conventional accessibility measures based on the notion of locational proximity ignore the role of complex travel behavior and space-time constraints in determining individual accessibility. As these factors are especially significant in women's everyday lives, all conventional accessibility measures suffer from an inherent "gender bias." This study conceptualizes individual accessibility as space-time feasibility and provides formulations of accessibility measures based on the space-time prism construct. Using a subsample of European Americans from a travel diary data set collected in Franklin County, Ohio, space-time accessibility measures are implemented with a network-based GIS method. Results of the study indicate that women have lower levels of individual access to urban opportunities when compared to men, although there is no difference in the types of opportunities and areas they can reach given their space-time constraints. Further, individual accessibility has no relationship with the length of the commute trip, suggesting that the journey to work may not be an appropriate measure of job access.

Key Words: accessibility, gender, space-time constraints, urban opportunities.

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