Space-time and integral measures of individual accessibility: a comparative analysis using a point-based framework

Mei Po Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conventional integral measures of accessibility, although valuable as indicators of place accessibility, have several limitations when used to evaluate individual accessibility. Two alternatives for overcoming some of the difficulties involved are explored in this study. One is to adapt these measures for evaluating individual accessibility using a disaggregate, nonzonal approach. The other is to develop different types of measures based on an alternative conceptual framework. To pursue the former alternative, this study specifies and examines eighteen gravity-type and cumulative-opportunity accessibility measures using a point-based spatial framework. For the latter option, twelve space-time accessibility measures are developed based on the construct of a prism-constrained feasible opportunity set. This paper compares the relationships and spatial patterns of these thirty measures using network-based GIS procedures. Travel diary data collected in Columbus, Ohio, and a digital data set of 10 727 selected land parcels are used for all computation. Results of this study indicate that space-time and integral indices are distinctive types of accessibility measures which reflect different dimensions of the accessibility experience of individuals. Since space-time measures are more capable of capturing interpersonal differences, especially the effect of space-time constraints, they are more 'gender sensitive' and helpful for unraveling gender/ethnic differences in accessibility. An important methodological implication is that whether accessibility is observed to be important or different between individuals depends heavily on whether the measure used is capable of revealing the kind of differences the analyst intends to observe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-216
Number of pages26
JournalGeographical Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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