A GIS-based approach to evaluating environmental influences on active and public transport accessibility of university students

Zannat, Khatun E. and Adnan, Mohammed Sarfaraz Gani and Dewan, Ashraf (2020) A GIS-based approach to evaluating environmental influences on active and public transport accessibility of university students. Journal of Urban Management, 9 (3). pp. 331-346. ISSN 2589-0360 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jum.2020.06.001)

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Many young adults are susceptible to obesity issues and the increased health risks associated with a lack of physical activity. Those who are prone to gaining weight include university students. An active transport system (walking and cycling), in combination with well-funded public transport, are essential components of a sustainable urban transport network, offering many benefits to the health of the individual, as well as the environment, economy, and society as a whole. The spatial association between active mobility (i.e. the physical activity of a human being for locomotion) of young adults and the environment, however, is poorly understood. This study presents a GIS-based model to determine association of various environmental (natural and built environment) factors with locational accessibility of active and public transport trips taken by university students. A GIS-based ensemble of Frequency Ratio (FR) and the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) model was established. We analysed the characteristics of locations accessed by university students in relation to eight environmental factors including slope, elevation, land use, population density, travel time, building density, intersection density, and public transport service area. The model was applied to the Grenoble metropolitan region of France, an area well-known for policies which promote active transport. The results indicated that intersection density and land use are strongly associated with active and public transport accessibility, with weights of 0.17 and 0.16, respectively. The presence of infrastructure to support active travel, and regulation to limit vehicular speed, also improved accessibility. Approximately 50% of the area of the Grenoble metropolitan region was defined as accessible and suitable ('moderate' to 'very high' degree) for active mobility. The results of this study could allow city planners to monitor the existing status of active and public transport facilities, and identify areas that require additional work to improve accessibility.