The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Accessibility planning for cyclists

Wells, Andy, Waterson, Ben, McDonald, Mike and Tarrant, David (2007) Accessibility planning for cyclists At 39th Annual Conference of the Universities' Transport Study Group. 03 - 05 Jan 2007. 12 pp.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


The UK Government's Accessibility Planning initiative aims to improve access to healthcare, jobs, shops, services and community facilities by non-car methods of travel, particularly for disadvantaged groups and areas. Every local authority in the UK is now required to report against a number of indicators in their Local Transport Plan and Local Development Framework, commonly the distance or time needed to access a particular location by walking, cycling and public transport. Accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists is typically measured using a crow-fly distance or the shortest distance on the road network, but these methods do not account for either cycle and pedestrian routes away from the road network, which improve accessibility, or physical and psychological barriers to movement, which reduce accessibility.
This paper details a study of cyclists in Southampton, UK, which used Geographical Information Systems to compare the commonly used crow-fly and road network estimates with actual travel distances for cyclists, to assess whether improved distance measures could be derived to give better measures of accessibility. Using a case study of a large shopping centre, the use of crow-fly distance measures was found to significantly overestimate accessibility, suggesting that local authorities using crow-fly distance measures should be extremely cautious when presenting and analysing results. Using measures based on the road network alone was shown to slightly underestimate accessibility, with the error increasing as the number of cycle routes and other routes available to cyclists increases.
By creating a weighted average of the crow-fly and road network distance measurements, a better estimate of true shortest cycling distances was achieved. By effectively creating a road network based accessibility polygon and then expanding it slightly to account for the likely presence of cycle routes without having to know their exact locations, this paper describes a methodology for local authorities to improve the accuracy of accessibility assessments until networks including detailed cycle routes and other routes available to cyclists become available.

PDF 2007_14-Author_CyclingAccess_UTSG.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (770kB)

More information

Published date: January 2007
Venue - Dates: 39th Annual Conference of the Universities' Transport Study Group, 2007-01-03 - 2007-01-05


Local EPrints ID: 53364
PURE UUID: 39bbba85-126d-47ec-ab3c-598a3ef5cbcd
ORCID for Ben Waterson: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Jul 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:38

Export record


Author: Andy Wells
Author: Ben Waterson ORCID iD
Author: Mike McDonald
Author: David Tarrant

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.