Mapping transit accessibility: Possibilities for public participation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

technology - geographic information systems, planning - public consultation


Accessibility, Public participation, Participatory GIS, Collaborative GIS, Planning support systems, Transit planning


The value of accessibility concepts is well-established in transportation literature, but so is the low adoption of accessibility-based instruments by practitioners. Based on the premise that leveraging accessibility concepts to address public involvement challenges could promote their adoption in planning practice, this research investigates mechanisms to promote social learning among participants in public workshops. Potential mechanisms of learning include specific tool-based interactions and how such interactions reinforce structures of learning such as alignment and imagination. This paper details iterative testing of these mechanisms with a tool called CoAXs (short for Collaborative ACCESSibility-based stakeholder engagement system), through focus groups and exploratory workshops. A mixed-methods analysis of the workshops supports the expectation that alignment and imagination correlate positively with social learning, as measured by reported learning and dialog quality. Specific interactions with the accessibility-based features of CoAXs in turn correlate positively with alignment and imagination, at individual and group levels of analysis. These findings, while not robustly generalizable, suggest that effective targeted stakeholder engagement for public transport can be structured around collaborative accessibility mapping. Adoption for broader public participation requires further development, especially the incorporation of actual day-to-day experiences such as unreliable operations.


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


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