Accessibility and space-time differences in when and how different groups (choose to) travel

Jean Ryan, Rafael H.M. Pereira, Magnus Andersson, Journal of Transport Geography, July 2023

A fair distribution of accessibility to key activities is a central concern for distributive justice in transport planning. This implies that disparities in accessibility and the negative effects associated with a lack of accessibility should be mitigated. However, even though accessibility is not purely spatial or static, it is conventionally treated as if it were. Several studies have significantly advanced the spatio-temporal representation of accessibility. However, there is still a lack of focus on how these dynamics affect different groups of people with differing socio-economic and demographic characteristics and how these dynamics might influence their travel mode choice. The aim of this paper is to analyse how differences in accessibility to the workplace by public transport during multiple times of the day are associated with the time period in which different groups of people commute to work, and how the flexibility of individuals' time constraints might influence whether they can and do commute using public transport. Using a transport justice-focused time geography perspective, this study draws on the spatio-temporal aspects of people's real activities based on travel survey data for the Stockholm Region. This study contributes to the literature by highlighting the differences in accessibility to the workplace by public transport across multiple departure time periods; showing how these results compare with mode choice (if there is a choice); and revealing which socio-economic, demographic and geographical factors characterise these differences. This study also illustrates how a transport justice-focused time geography approach could help researchers have a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the relationship between accessibility and sustainable travel behaviour, and how this relationship might change at different times of the day.

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