“We need accessibility, not mobility”

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A reflection on the recent Turin meeting by Ron Bos (keynote speaker)

We need accessibility, not mobility,” stated the American professor Jonathan Levine during an EU conference on this subject in Turin. By this, he meant the alternative thinking about accessibility which is rising within mobility planning. The Dutch policy practice and practical of our accessibility instruments seemed to be ahead of the rest of the world.

Effects rather than causes
Accessibility Based Planning differs from traditional mobility planning as not the causes but the effects of mobility issues are the central focus point. With this, it’s connecting more to the spatial and economic impacts of congestion and infrastructure.

At the conference Goudappel Coffeng presented some of their experiences with their own developed instruments; the  Accessibility map and Mobilityscan. The international audience of scientists in the field of accessibility instruments were pleasantly surprised that in the Netherlands already many steps have been taken to incorporate this thinking in real policy making. Outside the Netherlands this way of thinking primarily stays within the academic circle. Jonathan Levine: “As gasoline prices continue to rise and highway maintenance takes a significant portion of our budget, we really have to think different about the choices U.S. policymakers make.”

Although the Netherlands is a leading country within the rest of the world, it’s no reason to be satisfied already. “Embedding this way of thinking in policy processes on a structural manner is something that should take shape in the coming years. We are at the basis of a broader view of mobility. It’s not just about traffic problems. Think also of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and the role mobility can have within the policy issue of demographic decline“, says Ron Bos, consultant at Goudappel Coffeng and expert on accessibility issues. “But of course it is nice to see that our office in the Netherlands has a leading practical international position within this field. ”

About the conference
The meeting was organized by the Working Group on Accessibility Instruments for Planning Purposes’ within the COST program (European coordination program for nationally funded research programs in the field of science and technology).


Ron Bos has a profile on our website. He can also be found on LinkedIn.

About the COST Program

COST is an intergovernmental framework for european Cooperation and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. More information here.

About the COST Domain TUD

TUD fosters research coordination in the fields of transport and the built environment, which play a strategic role in the modern society and economy. More information here.

About this Action

Accessibility concepts are increasingly acknoledged as fundamental to understand the functioning of cities and urban regions. More information here.