Aims and objectives

The original aim of this project was to develop a neighbourhood accessibility assessment tool, principally for local authority use recognising that it is within local neighbourhoods that many best value solutions are not being identified by existing transport planning tools. The new tool would:

·         assess how well the neighbourhood provides for residents with differing abilities and needs

·         measure access to destinations that provide the services residents need (such as primary schools, retail groceries, doctors’ surgeries, sports grounds) by all modes, but especially walking, cycling and public transport.

Furthermore, the accessibility tool should[2]:

·         provide clear, objective, quantifiable measures of how accessible an area is by walking, cycling and public transport (preferably compared with car access)

·         give sufficient detail to identify the nature of the problems so improvement options can be developed and assessed for all modes

·         identify the key obstacles to greater use of active modes in the area

·         take into account the quality (attractiveness, legibility) of the walking and cycling routes – not just the access times and safety

·         be user friendly and intuitive to use without a large investment in training

·         be affordable so councils can use it

·         be compatible with other data and complementary projects.

Since the research was commissioned in May 2007, the scope broadened to include development of a methodology for calculating an accessibility score that could be derived for a neighbourhood or a wider area such as a suburb, city or region. It was also important to set this methodology within the context of changes in accessibility through building new roads or opening new bus services or railways, or construction of new homes, workplaces, shops and services.