The Why and How of Measuring Access to Opportunity

Access to jobs, education, healthcare, and other essential services may be regarded as the primary purpose of transportation. Not surprisingly, transportation agencies across the country are increasingly interested in considering this as a key part of measuring system performance. Unfortunately, many transportation practitioners are not sure how to measure how well their system links people to their daily destinations and broader opportunity.

The Governors’ Institute on Community Design has created a resource on the data, tools, and methodologies transportation officials need to measure access to opportunity. The Why and How of Measuring Access to Opportunity: A Guide to Performance Management is written to help transportation agencies integrate measurements of “access to opportunity” into their planning and investment decisions. It provides background on the changing priorities in transportation performance management, how some transportation agencies are already incorporating measures of access into their programs, and discusses the data and tools available to support measuring it. This guidebook might also be useful to elected and civic leaders, policy-makers, and stakeholders who wish to work with transportation agencies to address these important priorities.

Watch a recording of the kickoff webinar here to learn more about the guide and hear its authors answer questions.

This resource was informed by an Advisory Panel made up of Federal, state, and local practitioners, as well as two workshops on performance management and destination access. Topics include:

  • What we measure
    • Past areas of measurement and limitations
    • Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century
    • Additional areas to measure
  • Why measure access to opportunity?
    • Incorporating destination access into transportation programs and planning
    • Setting targets
    • Using scenarios
  • Making the case for change
    • How to measure destination access
    • Data sources
    • Tools being used
    • Proxy measures

This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under a cooperative agreement. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal Highway Administration or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.