The Professional Geographer (2002) 54(2): 226-240.

Bringing Time Back In:
A Study on the Influence of Travel Time Variations
and Facility Opening Hours on Individual Accessibility

Joseph Weber and Mei-Po Kwan

Abstract: Although recent studies of individual accessibility have used detailed representations of urban street networks, unrealistic measures of travel time based on assumptions about constant travel speeds through the network were often used. Utilizing constant travel times does not allow for daily congestion and assumes that the effects of congestion are uniform throughout the city and affect all people equally. This research measures individual space-time accessibility in order to show that the incorporation of locally specific travel times within a street network allows a significant increase in the ability to realistically evaluate individual accessibility within cities. The results show that the accessibility of individuals within cities is not homogenous, and neither does access to employment or shopping opportunities vary according to common expectations about urban form and human behavior. Instead, the role of distance in predicting accessibility variations within cities is quite limited. This article also shows that incorporating time into accessibility measures in the form of congestion and business hours leads to additional (and highly spatially uneven) reductions in accessibility, revealing that the temporal dimension is very important to accurately assessing individual accessibility.

Key Words: accessibility, geographic information systems, time. 

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