Inequalities in transit accessibility: Contributions from a comparative study between Global South and North metropolitan regions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - south america, place - urban, policy - equity, planning - methods


Inequalities, Accessibility, Comparability studies, Lorenz curve


Accessibility metrics have been increasingly employed as a tool to explore the social impacts of transport systems and policies. However, few empirical studies of accessibility involve comparisons between cities from countries with different levels of development, in particular, across the Global South and North. This paper attempts to bridge this gap by focusing on two very distinct, but similarly sized, large metropolitan regions: São Paulo and London, for which we develop comparative metrics.

These metrics are used to identify patterns for different occupational groups (used as a proxy to socioeconomic groups) and discuss transit accessibility inequalities. The issues imposed by a comparative study of urban regions with particular characteristics are discussed. The study applies the results of one metropolitan region to contrast with the other and explore how characteristics of each region's public transport system and spatial mismatch between residential and workplace locations are related to inequalities.

Group's condition was represented in the Lorenz curve, also revealing a new strategy to be adopted by comparability studies on inequalities. The results from Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient reveal larger transit accessibility inequalities in São Paulo than London. The proposed group representation enriched the comparability perspective as a tool to support transport planning.


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