A GIS-BASED PEDESTRIAN NETWORK MODEL FOR ASSESSMENT OF SPATIAL ACCESSIBILITY EQUITY AND IMPROVEMENT PRIORITIZATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO THE SPOKANE PUBLIC TRANSIT BENEFIT AREA
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Access to critical social services is crucial for the welfare and well-being of citizens and is widely considered as a vital goal in the practice of transport and urban planning. Considering that some mobility-disadvantaged groups, which represent a large proportion of the population, may be unable to use a car (low-income groups, mobility-impaired individuals, the elderly, etc.), it is important to provide them with pedestrian access to these services, which must be considered by urban planners. However, large deficits of pedestrian infrastructure exist, and a lack of local funding means that investments that limit accessibility must be prioritized. This research investigates how to balance such prioritizations between demands for equity and efficiency. Conflicts between the two meta-criteria may occur in some situations when allocating resources, and there will likely be a trade-off between efficiency and equity. The object of this research is to develop a new geographic information system (GIS)-based model with accessibility equity measures to evaluate existing service facilities and allocate transportation investments. With a detailed metro-wide geo-spatial pedestrian network dataset and geospatial databases of both service facility locations and socio-demographic information, this model is able to evaluate pedestrian infrastructure and accessibility deficiencies in the study area. In addition, the model's results suggest priorities that maximize both equity and efficiency in repairing identified deficiencies, thus providing decision-making support for urban planners and policy makers.