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Four Steps for Making Accessibility a Tangible Part of the Planning Process

Although there is a strong push for accessibility as a key metric in transportation and land use planning efforts, there is still a long way to go in putting theory and intentions into practice.
December 29, 2017, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Nick Beer

Accessibility is a popular buzzword among planning professionals. In fact, according to a 2017 analysis by the Brookings Institution, 22 of the 32 metropolitan transportation plans sampled for the report include accessibility in their vision, goals, or objectives. 

According to Adie Tomer and Annibel Rice, "more people within the governance and planning communities have begun to subscribe to the concept of building around accessibility, or the ease of reaching destinations."

But, according to Tomer and Rice, "[th]e problem is that accessibility is still stuck in a theoretical place." After providing a list of the shortcomings of current accessibility metrics, Tomer and Rice provide a list of action items to move accessibility toward a more practical and deliverable presence in the planning process.

Here's the list of recommended action items, with a lot more detail provided in the source article:

  • First, to promote tangible accessibility results, use clearly defined indicators to measure critical outcomes. 
  • Second, include accessibility criteria in the selection process for projects.
  • Third, measure different destination types, transportation modes, and splits between target demographic groups. 
  • Fourth, use visualization tools and clear reporting of costs and benefits to inform the public.
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Published on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 in Next City
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