Quantifying disparities in access to recreational opportunities by alternative modes of transport

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The paper draws upon open-source technologies to present methods of incorporating multiple travel modes into GIS analyses of cumulative opportunity and proximity-based metrics of accessibility. Two case studies are undertaken. The first uses isochrone analysis to evaluate national access to sport facilities expected to appeal to a broad range of ages and abilities. Predictably, urban areas and private car travel record the highest levels of access, but the revelation of geographical patterns in disparities between travel modes may allow transport planners and national and regional sporting bodies to identify where further investment in facilities and transport infrastructure might best be targeted. The second case study uses network tracing of shortest time pathways to consider city level access to greenspaces. Findings here suggest that cycling may offer similar access levels as private car travel, with much poorer outcomes for walking and public transport. Such studies demonstrate how active travel and public transport might be included in holistic GIS analyses to aid policy makers, and those who plan and monitor provision of sporting opportunities, to promote improved levels of access to, and participation in, physical activities within disadvantaged communities. They may also have value in cross-sector approaches that promote the wider health and environmental benefits of using active travel and public transport to access neighbourhood facilities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100949
Number of pages11
JournalCase Studies on Transport Policy
Early online date4 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2023


  • Potential accessibility
  • Multi-modal transport
  • Cumulative opportunity
  • Sporting facilities
  • spatial patterns of access
  • Active travel


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