Accessibility in Urban Areas for Citizens with Impairments: Using GIS to Map and Measure Accessibility in Swedish Cities
Pp. 122-131 (10)
Since, the design of our cities tends to constrain people with impairment from performing
their daily activities, removing barriers and making public space accessible for everyone is becoming a
human rights-issue. However, efficiently improving accessibility requires knowledge about the location
of obstacles in the urban environment and how these affect accessibility. Using GIS-models to map and
measure accessibility, this study aims at providing new knowledge about the spatial distribution of
accessibility for impaired persons in seven Swedish cities. Based on field surveys, detailed digital
models of the pedestrian and public transport networks were created for each city. These models were
used to evaluate the possibility for vision and mobility impaired citizens to reach different destinations.
The results reveal how different types of flaws in the pedestrian network cause interruptions or force
travellers to detours in the travel chain between home and destination, thus restricting accessibility. The
results show where it is possible to live and independently perform daily activities as an impaired
citizen and how travelling times and distances vary between impaired and other citizens. In conclusion,
the study shows how planners, by using GIS-models, can easily enhance their knowledge about how
flaws in the design of their cities affect accessibility for impaired citizens.
Department of Architecture, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden.