Accessibility studies

Accessibility of site is a critical success factor.

Improving site’s accessibility dramatically increases access to cash and to population.

Accessibility is the main “product” of a transport system, which refers to peoples’ ability to reach desired goods, services, activities and destinations. The quality of accessibility has tremendous direct and indirect impacts. Consider that the primary trade area for a retail centre entails a 20-minute car-based trip. If congestion delay consists 5–10 minutes of the total trip, what is typical for urban conditions, reduction of travel time by one minute increases the primary trade area by 14–21%.

Developers, state highway agencies, municipalities and the general public have common as well as diverse interests regarding site transportation plans.

 Developer’s Interests

  • Will the adjacent roadway system adequately support accessibility to the proposed development?
  • What changes are required to the adjacent roadway system to improve accessibility? Are they worth the investment?
  • What are the estimates of the volume of traffic the development can be expected to generate on the opening date of the proposed development and full development date?
  • What changes might occur in the future roadway system that would impact the development negatively? Positively?
  • Will the access and internal site circulation adequately accommodate the amount and type of traffic to make development successful?
  • Are the number of parking spaces adequate and are they conveniently located for customers and employees?
  • Can the site access and circulation design be modified in response to changing conditions on the abutting roadway network?
  • If applicable, are public transit stops located and designed to provide convenient access to buildings and minimize pedestrian-vehicle conflicts?

Investor’s Interests

  • Does the site accessibility have deficiencies that will jeopardize the long-term financial viability of the project?
  • What changes might occur in abutting and nearby property development that would impact site accessibility negatively?

Tenant’s Interests

  • Can customers easily and conveniently enter and leave the site?

Local Government Interests

  • What safety and operational impacts will the development have on the public roadway system?
  • Can delivery and service vehicles maneuver safely and efficiently through the driveway connections with the public roadway system?
  • Is emergency vehicle circulation acceptable?
  • Are appropriate pedestrian walkways and bicycle facilities provided?
  • Will the location and design of access drives cause safety or operational problems on the abutting street system?
  • Does on-site traffic control give preference to traffic entering the site?

Inadequate attention to the stakeholders’ above mentioned interests can result in:

  • Poor accessibility;
  • On-site congestion and/ or congestion on the public street system;
  • High accident experience;
  • The development does not achieve financial objectives; AND
  • Limited flexibility to adjust the design or operation to changed conditions.


Transportation Planning and Accessibility

The quality of accessibility is a key success factor for commercial, institutional, residential, and recreational land use. For instance, shopping mall image can be improved by capturing key dimensions: accessibility, atmosphere, price, and assortment. Shopping malls that are easily accessible to shoppers are perceived more favorably and are likely to be patronized more than malls that are less accessible.

Improving accessibility helps to achieve access to cash and to population. Since accessibility is the ultimate goal of most transportation activity, we base transport planning on accessibility.

Optimal planning requires comprehensive accessibility analysis. We apply a variety of methods to evaluate all accessibility factors, including macro, meso and micro simulation of transportation network. . Our ability to evaluate accessibility provides a better understanding of site accessibility and helps identify truly optimal solutions to transport problems. We provide effective planning which requires creativity and judgment to understand and evaluate the myriad factors affecting accessibility. We evaluate accessibility not only based on travel speeds (such as average traffic speeds and congestion delay), but also based on convenience and comfort factors, which are very important to the user. We use Level-of-service (LOS) ratings, which grade service quality from A (best) to F (worst), to evaluate travel conditions, for example, to identify problems and possible improvements.

Our experience indicates that there are many ways to improve accessibility than recognized in conventional planning. For example, many transport problems are best solved by improving the convenience and comfort of alternative modes, providing better user information, improving connections among modes, and increasing land use accessibility.