The Impact of Accessibility in Rural Areas – Developing and Evaluating an Instrument to Estimate the Effects of Location Development of Social Infrastructure and Public Transport
Florian Ahlmeyer, ILS - Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Dr. Dirk Wittowsky, ILS - Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Prof. Markus Friedrich, Institute for Road and Transport Science (University of Stuttgart)
In context of demographic change, we developed an instrument to estimate how decrease of social infrastructure and public transport affects accessibilities in the region of Calw in Germany, as a model to be applied to other rural areas.
Insufficient accessibility in rural areas is mainly caused by demographic change, which means decline and aging of population. If there is no change in administrative planning, future accessibility of public services in sparsely populated areas cannot be guaranteed anymore. These results lead to a dramatic decrease of mobility of “captive riders”, like older and younger persons, who will not be able anymore to reach their destinations of everyday live.
On this account the ILS−Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development developed an instrument for the transdisciplinary research project “Accessibility in rural areas”, in cooperation with the Institute for Road and Transport Science (University of Stuttgart) and the rural district of Calw. The instrument can be used to assess shifts in supply of social infrastructure or public transport and to simulate the impact of different realistic scenarios (2030), which change spatial structure (e.g. closing of public services). In addition, an indexing model was created, including parameters like access to public service, quality of public transport and traffic infrastructure, main traffic behavior as well as demographic parameters. These parameters are mainly based on travel times, which are calculated by the Transport Modelling Program “VISUM 14” by “PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG”.
The instrument was funded by the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry for Rural Areas, Nutrition and Consumer Protection. In cooperation with Calw, the instrument achieved a high validation for the points of interest and the used population data. The spatial analysis is based on a 200 meters grid; accessibility can thus be visualized for very small areas, which leads to detailed results. These results could help to avoid competitions between communities in rural areas in terms of social infrastructure. Under the conclusion that competition in rural areas leads to a decline of social infrastructure, the instrument could help significantly to organize and optimize the accessibility in a most cooperative and efficient way. Although population declines and ages in rural areas, the instrument could be a part of functional strategy against the loss of accessibility and quality of life.
Beside the impact on regional planning, the project represents a case study of accessibility in rural areas, including data based scenarios to localize the best sites to establish new facilities (e.g. schools), to analyze the impact of closing facilities (e.g. hospitals) or to define most vulnerable spaces. Furthermore, an indexing model that includes important destinations of education, public health, grocery, culture, administration and service, was developed based on a local travel survey to visualize the combined accessibilities. The model might also be applied to other rural areas to compare results between different areas. To assure this possibility of comparison, the indexing model defines the stages of accessibility before calculating and visualizing the results.
The developed instrument allows the localization of those areas where accessibility is not sufficient anymore. The future of accessibility can only be assured if problems are localized and quantified in order to forecast where correct arrangements are necessary to preserve accessibility in rural areas for every social group.
Florian Ahlmeyer: email@example.com (corresponding author)
Dr. Dirk Wittowsky: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Stefan Siedentop: email@example.com
ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Dortmund, Germany
Prof. Markus Friedrich: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefanie Rönsch: email@example.com
Institute for Road and Transport Science, Department for Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering, University of Stuttgart, Germany
Association for European Transport