Interactive mapping for public transit planning: Comparing accessibility and travel-time framings




accessibility, transportation planning, public transit


As transport planners increasingly frame project impacts in accessibility terms, it is worth considering how this foundational land-use transport interaction concept can shape stakeholder attitudes. In this paper, we test whether framing the benefits of public transit projects in terms of increased accessibility better fosters enthusiasm among advocates, as compared to framing benefits in terms of travel-time savings. We test two versions of an interactive mapping tool in small workshops examining upgraded bus services. One version shows isochrones and accessibility indicators, and the other shows paths and travel time indicators. Results from pre- and post-surveys suggest that framing impacts in accessibility terms may encourage broader thinking and stronger dialog than framing impacts in time-savings terms. In particular, the accessibility version seems to mitigate skepticism and car users’ predispositions against upgrading bus service. An unexpected result is that many workshop participants report decreased overall enthusiasm for the bus upgrades after using either version of the tool. This disappointment may stem from an unrealistic baseline, which assumes perfect schedule adherence not aligned with lived experiences. Future research should consider tools that help stakeholders understand and deliberate about actual service and network-level reliability, and testing such tools with wider audiences.

Author Biographies

Anson Stewart, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Scientist, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

P. Christopher Zegras, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor of Mobility and Urban Planning
Department Head, Department of Urban Studies and Planning


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How to Cite

Stewart, A., & Zegras, P. C. (2022). Interactive mapping for public transit planning: Comparing accessibility and travel-time framings. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 15(1), 635–650.