Measuring just accessibility within planetary boundaries


Our societies struggle to provide a good life for all without overconsuming environmental resources. Consequently, scholarly search for approaches to meet environmental and social goals of sustainability have become popular. In transport research, accessibility is a key tool to characterise linkages between people, transport, and land use. In the current paper, we propose a conceptual framework for measuring just accessibility within planetary boundaries. We reviewed transport studies and discovered a substantial literature body on accessibility and social disadvantage, much vaster compared to the literature around environmental and ecological impacts of accessibility. We also show a gap in approaches that have integrated these two perspectives. Building on the review, we suggest a conceptual framework for incorporating environmental and social sustainability goals in accessibility research. We conclude the paper by pointing to key challenges and research avenues related to the framework, including (i) dealing with uncertainty and complexity in socio-ecological thresholds, (ii) integrating environmental limits into the conceptualisations of transport equity, (iii) measuring accessibility through other costs than travel time, and (iv) integrating both quantitative and qualitative data.

Transport Reviews