Analyzing Pedestrian Accessibility Using QGIS and OpenStreetMaps Data

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Current transportation planning practices are shifting toward a focus on accessibility – the ease in which a person can reach destinations given the available transportation network – for all modes of transportation including walking, bicycling, and using public transit. This article will explain different methods of measuring accessibility and how to adapt those methods for pedestrian travel. Much previous work on the subject suggests that you need to buy expensive data and software packages like ArcGIS Network Analyst Extension, but free open-source options can provide a suitable alternative. The article will conclude with a walkthrough of using QGIS with data from OpenStreetMaps (OSM) to calculate pedestrian accessibility, using the example of accessibility to restaurants for buildings in the Capitol Complex of St. Paul, Minnesota where I currently work.


What is accessibility?

“Transportation researchers generally refer to accessibility as a measurement of the spatial distribution of activities about a point…

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