Improving access in cities: Findings from Europe and Latin America

ITF in Focus session



24 May


09:00 to 10:30


Hall 2, Level +1

Transport provides citizens with access to goods, services, jobs and other opportunities. Transport planning has typically focused on enabling people to move faster. Accessibility indicators can be powerful tools for helping shift the policy focus from increasing movement to improving access. Clearer metrics and presentational tools could support efforts to put access issues higher in the political agenda, as well as guide decision makers more effectively.

The session will feature findings of a joint ITF, OECD and European Union project to develop a common set of indicators and a benchmarking tool for improving access in European cities. It will also explore the results of applying the methodology to Latin American cases.

Key facts:

  • ITF’s accessibility indicators show that five million Europeans, 8% of everyone on urban commuting zones, cannot reach a hospital in 30 minutes.
  • Transport for London (TfL) reports that the use of access indices was fundamental to doubling the modal share of public transport between 1995 and 2012.
  • In many cities, formal transport systems co-exist with informal and quasi-informal ones. For example, in Mexico City, more than 11 million trips per day are made on informal buses. Including these informal modes of transport in accessibility indicators is essential, requiring new and alternative data sources.

Lead questions:

  • If “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, what indicators of success in delivering access should we be providing to decision-makers?
  • Which European cities are most accessible and why?
  • How successful are Latin American cities in ensuring equitable access to employment and basic services?
  • How do transit-oriented demand policies measure up in enhancing accessibility across metropolitan areas?

Background reading:




Ernesto Monter

Transport Principal Specialist

Inter-American Development Bank

Aimée Aguilar Jaber

Team Leader-Climate Change Mitigation, Environment Directorate


Sergio Avelleda

Urban Mobility Director

WRI Ross Center For Sustainable Cities

Clayton Lane

Director of Business Development


Ali Aslan

TV host and journalist

Lewis Dijkstra

Head of the Economic Analysis Sector at DG for Regional and Urban Policy

European Commission

Philipp Rode

Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow

The London School of Economics and Political Science