An accessibility-based methodology to prioritize public-transit investments: Application to older adults in three metropolitan regions in Canada

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - demand responsive transit, mode - bus, mode - rail, ridership - old people, policy - equity, planning - methods, technology - geographic information systems, land use - planning


Accessibility, Public transit, Land use, Older adults


As governments aim to promote a modal transfer away from motorized vehicles and toward transit, important investments in public-transit systems are becoming necessary. Prioritization of projects targeting underserved communities and careful choices between Fixed Route Transit (FRT) and Demand Responsive Transit (DRT) is therefore crucial to maximize benefits from investments. In this study, we develop a methodology to target and identify policy interventions to increase accessibility by public transit where it is low and apply it to serve older adults in three Canadian metropolitan areas. A conceptual framework is presented to inform the type of public transport (FRT or DRT) or land-use interventions most relevant to improve accessibility in each area. The methodology is then applied using existing accessibility to jobs by public transit at the Census Tract level and concentration of older adults. Multiple measures are tested for both criteria to assess the effect of methodological choices on policy recommendations. Findings show the selection process is sensitive to the measure used to quantify the concentration of older adults, but not to different job types as destinations. Socioeconomic and geographical differences are observed between the types of interventions proposed. The methodology developed in this study can be of value for practitioners as they aim to orient relevant policy changes to promote increased accessibility by public transit for underserved communities such as older adults. The framework and methodology developed can be easily adapted to different sociodemographic groups and different regions where jobs, census, GTFS and road network data are available.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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