Access to Destinations: Parcel Level Land Use Data Acquisition & Analysis for Measuring Non-Auto Accessibility

Principal Investigator(s):

Kevin Krizek, Former U of M Researcher, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


  • Ahmed El-Geneidy , Former University Researcher, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

There are generally three components to calculating accessibility indices: knowing travel times, knowing the types of activities to which people travel (e.g., land uses), and knowing how much "closer" land uses should be valued over "further away" land uses (e.g., decay functions). All are important; some are more "advanced" for various modes.

This research aids in tackling one important part of accessibility metrics-measuring land use. It introduces complementary strategies to effectively measure a variety of different destination types at a highly detailed scale of resolution using secondary data. The research describes ways to overcome common data hurdles and demonstrates how existing data in one metropolitan area in the U.S. (the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul) can be exploited to aid in measuring accessibility at an extremely fine unit of analysis (i.e., the parcel).

Establishment-level data containing attribute information on location, sales, employees, and industry classification was purchased from Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. The research process involved cleaning and tailoring the parcel dataset for the seven-county metro area and integrating various GIS datasets with other secondary data sources. These data were merged with parcel-level land use data from the Metropolitan Council. The establishment-level data were then recoded into destination categories using the two- to six-digit classifications of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The development of important components of this research is illustrated with a sample application. The report concludes by describing how such data could be used in calculating more robust measures of accessibility.

In what is likely to be an enduring period of constrained public resources, lawmakers and government executives will seek the best information possible for making policy choices and deciding where to make public investments. In a landmark series of studies known as Access to Destinations, the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota has opened up new frontiers of information for better policy and investment decisions.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2007004
  • Start date: 07/2006
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Bicycling, Pedestrian, Planning