Accessibility matters: Exploring the determinants of public transport mode share across income groups in Canadian cities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, policy - equity, ridership - mode choice


Accessibility, Equity, Public transport, Mode share


Planning for accessibility is increasingly considered in the development of equitable plans by transport agencies and it has also been shown to exert a positive influence on public transport use. However, this influence has not been examined across income groups and in different geographic regions of varying sizes. The present study measures the relationship between accessibility and mode choice for low- and higher-income groups in eleven Canadian metropolitan regions. Our results show that the impact of accessibility on public transport mode share is stronger and non-linear for the low-income group especially in the largest metropolitan areas, where increasing accessibility past a certain optimal value will lead to a decrease in public transport mode share. However, this point occurs at the 80th percentile of existing accessibility, so improvements in mode share are nonetheless expected with improved accessibility in most areas within these regions. Moreover, in regions where an optimal value is not readily observed, improved accessibility throughout the region would lead to increased uptake of public transport for both the higher- and to a greater extent, the low-income group. Findings from this paper can be of value to transport professionals working towards meeting ridership goals around the world as comparisons between groups and across regions highlight the variation in the impacts of accessibility on mode share.


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


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