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Exploring urban accessibility scores using multi-criteria decision analysis techniques

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posted on 2021-05-24, 17:55 authored by Anna Racovali
This paper explores alternative methods in which an urban walkability score may be determined. Walk Score is a popular urban accessibility index which determines the walkability of a neighbourhood or specific address by measuring the proximity of the location to nearby services and amenities. Traditional walkability scores, such as Walk Score, are limited because of their inability to vary the importance of being in proximity to certain services and amenities. Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) techniques, specifically simple additive weighting (SAW) and ordered weighted averaging (OWA), provide a geographic approach to determining the walkability of an area and allow users to determine the weights of importance of all services and amenities. MCDA-based walkability scores were calculated and compared to one another and to Walk Score. Both SAW and OWA methods created similar walkability indexes for dissemination areas throughout Toronto. However, the MCDA results could not be directly compared to Walk Score, as there was a significant difference between the value ranges of the scores. Thus, the 140 Toronto neighbourhoods were ranked from most to least walkable for the MCDA-based methods and Walk Score, based upon each method’s respective scores. Upon comparison, it was evident that both Walk Score’s methodology and the MCDA-based methodologies resulted in similar outcomes of walkability rankings for Toronto neighbourhoods





Master of Spatial Analysis


Spatial Analysis

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type