Tools for analyzing employment accessibility: A review

We surveyed several different tools and workflows to see how they work and what would make sense for us.From a user’s perspective, here’s my review of:Urban FootprintConveyal AnalysisTBESTBicycle Network Analysis, by People for BikesThe hammer method: QGIS and PostgresFun with Python: OSMnx (coming soon)The more expensive hammer method: ArcGIS (coming soon?)Some of these are out-of-the-box solutions that don’t require GIS skills..The goal is to use employment accessibility to compare the impacts of different investments in transportation infrastructure and services — being able to answer questions like, “How easily would our future population be able to access future jobs if there were new roads, new bike facilities, and transit lines with reduced headways?”..This means I needed a tool that could take a lot of custom data inputs (but this post should be relevant even if you don’t have those requirements).I wanted a tool that could answer “yes” to the following questions:Can it model a variety of modes?.I want to calculate separate metrics for pedestrian, bicycle, auto, and transit accessibility.Can I feed it custom population and employment data?.Bonus points if these inputs don’t have to be aggregated/disaggregated to a particular geography (e.g. I want to be able to feed it the best data that I’ve got, whether it’s at the tax lot, census block, or TAZ-level)Can I feed it custom transportation inputs?I want to be able to model new roadways, particular bike/ped links, and modifications to transit routes and headways..Some GIS experience is needed for whoever is preparing the input data to send to UF.What it does well: This struck me as a pretty high-powered tool that combines land use and transportation analysis in one platform..It didn’t meet our needs for this particular project because we needed so many custom infrastructure inputs, but it could be really useful for other applications.Conveyal AnalysisWhat it is: Elegant software tool designed to help planners evaluate changes to public transport systems using accessibility indicators.Point-based accessibility: Drag-and-drop interface, easy to select the mode choice, nice results windowRegional accessibility results: Intuitive, interactive interface..Analysis takes GTFS transit data and uses it to visualize your local routes; the interface lets you interact with these to modify your network..Also, Analysis lets you input your own road network data (in OpenStreetMap’s PBF format), which means I could input future transportation networks to model future roads or restrict bikes to low-stress facilities..TBEST has many detailed public transit analysis capabilities and it can analyze accessibility for public transit.TBEST interface and Bend exampleHow it works: This software can be downloaded (for free) and used in conjunction with ArcGIS..It uses an input road network, demographic information, and GTFS data provided by the user.Nerd factor: Low, assuming some familiarity with ArcGIS..TBEST can develop and run future transit scenarios, forecast future ridership, act as a GTFS editor, and facilitate analysis of demographics, land uses, etc..Accessibility analysis along transit lines is evaluated based on the routes, stop, and schedule.. More details

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