Definition: The differentiation between the terms accessibility and mobility is useful in the context of policy development. The accessibility of an activity for a person is the ease with which the person can get to places where that activity (e.g. education, work, leisure) takes place. The term accessibility therefore refers to the ability to reach activities and not movement itself using different modes of transport.
To illustrate this, it is possible to have good accessibility with poor mobility. For example, a community with severe highway congestion, but where residents live within walking distance of all desired activities has poor mobility but good accessibility. Policies to increase mobility generally also increase accessibility by making it easier to reach destinations and activities further away.
The term accessibility has the following different dimensions: the transport dimension (options for transport); the land use dimension (quality and spatial distribution of activity locations); the individual dimension based on the (different) needs, capabilities and perceptions of (different) individuals; and the temporal dimension, as activities/opportunities are often only available at particular times.
Relevance to SUMP: It is a SUMP objective to ensure that all citizens are offered transport options that enable access to key destinations and services. Accessibility can be improved by: reducing the distance between places where activities are undertaken through land use planning measures (i.e. high density development and mixed-use development); and by providing better mobility/transport options. When judging the accessibility of a destination or activity, attention should be paid to the needs of all social groups, including groups such as children, older people and disabled people.
Source: DfT, 2013; Handy, 2002; ITS Leeds KonSULT (online); Ricardo 2015