An Open-Source Modelling Methodology for Multimodal and Intermodal Accessibility Analysis of Workplace Locations
- All relevant modes of transport need to be included (multimodal perspective): In Germany, these are walking, public transport, cycling, and driving .
- For results that better reflect the real-world travel choices of commuters, combinations of these modes (intermodal perspective) should be included as well. Especially the bicycle, as an emission-free, space-efficient mode to access or egress rail-based public transport, is of particular interest for current policies in the region  and beyond .
- All analysis should be conducted using real timetable-based travel times in public transport so that the particular conditions of commuting are reflected in the model (e.g., higher frequencies during the morning peak hour).
- The methodology should be fully adjustable so that both changes in the land-use component as well as in the mobility supply can be included, e.g., in the form of scenarios. This includes new housing, new public transport lines, changes in timetables, and new cycling infrastructure, among others.
- To create a universally applicable and transferable methodology, it should be based on open-source tools. This avoids black boxes in the methodology and maximizes the potential impact, since no license fees are necessary to apply the method. Moreover, an open-source methodology makes the modelling process transparent and replicable.
- In order to make the methodology useful for practical applications, the calculation time for a grid-based analysis of a functional urban area should be below 12 h in order to allow relatively fast scenario comparisons.
- How can multimodal and intermodal accessibility measures for workplace locations be operationalized on the basis of open-source tools and open data?
- What do we learn from the application of a region-wide analysis of workplace accessibility?
2.1. Modeling Concept
- OpenTripPlanner is used to calculate isochrones (see  for an introduction);
- A PostGIS database is used to store spatial data (permanently and temporarily) and perform spatial queries;
- A script (written in R) is used to steer and automate the process.
2.2. Data Sources
2.3. Software and Technical Setup
2.4. Assumptions and Parameters
2.4.1. Isochrone Generation
2.4.2. Temporal Parameters
2.4.3. Resulting Hexagon Grid
2.5. Comparison to Existing Approaches
- Perspective: Most accessibility models in the realm of job and workplace accessibility apply the place-based perspective for residential locations, calculating access to jobs for workers [22,51,52,53]. Our approach, however, focuses on access to workers from the perspective of (potential) workplace locations. To date, only few operational models have applied this approach—mostly, within the context of ‘jobs–housing–balance’ approaches [54,55].
- Calculation method: Usually, spatial accessibility is calculated using origin destination matrices that contain travel times (or generalized costs) between all zones in the study area [30,49]. One disadvantage of this approach is that the computational effort required is exponential with respect to the number of zones. While it offers many opportunities for more complex analyses and is a prerequisite for gravity-based measures, the high computational burden may be a limitation in practice. Thus, focusing on simplicity, we apply a calculation based on isochrones around the zone centroids (see Section 2.4.1) that only requires one operation per cell. Moreover, this approach allows us to use the resulting isochrones both for quality checks and for communication of the results, which is especially useful when comparing scenarios.
- Multimodality and intermodality: In contrast to approaches that allow only the analysis of one mode of transport (often either automobile or public transport) , our model is capable of calculating accessibility in a multimodal and even intermodal way, on the basis of the features of OpenTripPlanner [33,56].
- Open Source and Open Data: As outlined in Section 2.1 and Section 2.2, all software, tools, and data sources used in this proposed approach are openly available. This makes our approach, depending on data availability, replicable anywhere and without any license costs. This is a major difference to approaches relying on commercial tools like ArcGIS Pro [22,30].
- Public transport;
- Bike and ride;
4. Model Interpretation and Discussion of Results
4.1. Relative Accessibility—How Well Do Public Transport and Cycling Compare to the Private Car?
4.2. Intermodality—Where Do Workplaces Benefit from Combining Public Transport and Cycling?
- Increase in the accessible area (and thereby population) within a certain time threshold by faster first mile and/or last mile trip legs. This is the expected effect when walking is replaced by cycling, for example.
- Increase in the accessible area (and thereby population) within a certain time threshold by enabling new public transport routes that were not possible without the intermodal combination. For example, when stops can be reached by bike easily where the first public transport trip leg would be very slow.
4.3. Score Transformation
4.4. Role of Munich as the Most Accessible Area for Workplaces in the Region
4.5. Polycentricity in the Region? The Role of the Other Centers
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Data Preparation
Appendix A.1. Preparing GTFS Data
- stops.txt: filter only those stops that are located within the bounding box (by latitude /longitude).
- stop_times.txt: filter only those features whose stop_id is also found in the filtered stops.txt dataset.
- trips.txt: filter only those features whose trip_id is also found in the filtered stop_times.txt dataset.
- routes.txt: filter only those features whose route_id is also found in the filtered trips.txt dataset.
Appendix A.2. Preparing OSM Data
Appendix A.3. Preparing Census Data
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Pfertner, M.; Büttner, B.; Wulfhorst, G. An Open-Source Modelling Methodology for Multimodal and Intermodal Accessibility Analysis of Workplace Locations. Sustainability 2023, 15, 1947. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15031947
Pfertner M, Büttner B, Wulfhorst G. An Open-Source Modelling Methodology for Multimodal and Intermodal Accessibility Analysis of Workplace Locations. Sustainability. 2023; 15(3):1947. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15031947Chicago/Turabian Style
Pfertner, Maximilian, Benjamin Büttner, and Gebhard Wulfhorst. 2023. "An Open-Source Modelling Methodology for Multimodal and Intermodal Accessibility Analysis of Workplace Locations" Sustainability 15, no. 3: 1947. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15031947