Evaluating accessibility of small communities via public transit.


  • Antonio Danesi University of Bologna, Bologna Author
  • Simone Tengattini Rete Ferroviaria Italiana SpA, Bologna Author




public transit, travel impedance, time-of-day preference curves, schedule delay


Accessibility to and from urban centres allows small communities’ dwellers to participate in primary activities and use essential services that are not available on-site, such as educational, work and medical services. Public transport networks are supposed to enhance accessibility and pursue equity principles, overcoming socio-economical differences among people that can exacerbate during crisis. In this paper a methodology is proposed and implemented to assess small communities’ accessibility via public transit. A metric is defined based on the calculation of total travel time, taken as a proxy of travel impedance, with consideration of in-vehicle time, schedule delay and users’ arrival and departure preference curves (i.e. time-of-day functions). A “rooftops” model is specified and implemented under the assumption that travellers cannot accept (scheduled) late arrival or early departure time penalties before and after the participation in their activities in the main urban centre, as many activities rarely admit time-flexibility. Also, a public transport specific impedance factor (PTSIF) is proposed, in order to account for travel impedance determinants, which are a consequence of service scheduling and routing decisions and not due to inherent geographical and infrastructural disadvantages affecting car users too. An application of the methodology for the city of Cesena, Italy, and 90 surrounding small communities is presented. The city is served by train and bus services. Assessment of small communities' accessibility based on both total travel time and PTSIF is presented and discussed. This practice-ready quantitative method can help transport professionals to evaluate impacts on small communities’ accessibility in light of public transport service changes or reduction. Quantitative approach to support strategic decisions is needed, for example, both to assess public transport strengthening politics against depopulation of rural and marginal mountainous areas and to mitigate the effects of possible increasing concentration of services towards high-demand lines, which may follow as a consequence of budget cuts or contingencies, such as vehicle capacity reductions required by sanitary emergencies.


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Original articles

How to Cite

Danesi, A., & Tengattini, S. (2020). Evaluating accessibility of small communities via public transit. Archives of Transport, 56(4), 59-72. https://doi.org/10.5604/01.3001.0014.5601


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