Multimodal spatial availability: A singly-constrained measure of accessibility considering multiple modes

PLoS One. 2024 Feb 23;19(2):e0299077. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299077. eCollection 2024.


Place-based accessibility measures communicate the potential interaction with opportunities at a zone that populations can access. Recent research has explored the implications of how opportunities are counted by different accessibility methods. In conventional measures, opportunities are multiply counted if more than one zone offers access to the same opportunity. This multi-count of opportunities leads to values of accessibility that are difficult to interpret. A possible solution to enhance the meaning-making of accessibility results is by constraining the calculations to match a known quantity. This ensures all zonal values sum up to a predetermined quantity (i.e., the total number of opportunities). In this way, each value can be meaningfully related to this total. A recent effort that implements this solution is spatial availability, a singly-constrained accessibility measure. In this paper, we extend spatial availability for use in the case of multiple modes or more generally, heterogeneous population segments with distinct travel behaviors. After deriving a multimodal version of spatial availability, we proceed to illustrate its features using a synthetic example. We then apply it to an empirical example of low emission zones in Madrid, Spain. We conclude with suggestions for future research and its use in evaluating policy interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Spain
  • Travel*

Grants and funding

AS - Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral Program (CGS D) and Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). AS and PA - SSHRC’s partnership grant: Mobilizing justice: towards evidence-based transportation equity policy. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.