Ongoing Projects

Accessibility Sufficiency Dashboard

Link to Accessibility Sufficiency Dashboard

Metropolitan areas are characterized by highly uneven patterns of access to opportunities, with high levels of accessibility in the core cities and low levels at the metropolitan edge. This suggests that especially residents located at these edges face accessibility problems. We challenge this perception by an explicit analysis of spatial patterns of insufficient accessibility in 49 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas. For this purpose, we use the Accessibility Sufficiency Index developed by Martens (2017) and others, which accounts for both accessibility shortfalls and the number of people affected by these shortfalls. We analyze first the spatial pattern of accessibility insufficiency for all 49 metropolitan areas jointly, for sufficiency thresholds ranging from 1% to 50% of average regional car-based accessibility. We find that accessibility insufficiency is strongly concentrated in the first 10-20 km ring around the metropolitan core, with a more dispersed pattern only prevalent for the lowest 1% threshold.

In a second analysis, we compare the 49 regions using only the 10% sufficiency threshold. Results show that most regions have a strong concentration of accessibility insufficiency close to the CBD. Further analysis shows that urban densities in these clusters are relatively high, underscoring the favorable conditions for introducing efficient public transport service. We conclude that accessibility insufficiency is not an issue of far-flung suburbs and the metropolitan fringes, but primarily an urban issue. This underscores the possibilities for addressing the issue through increased and targeted investments in high quality public transport systems. The research team includes Aviv Lee Cohen Zada and Matan Singer.

Fairness of Transport Systems

Funded by the Israel Science Foundation, this project examines the fairness of the transport systems of the 49 largest US metropolitan areas. The objective is to systematically analyze who is enjoying the benefits generated by the extensive transport networks that have been built over decades of massive investments in infrastructure – and who is missing out on these fruits. The project makes use of data on accessibility to employment, generously provided by the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota. The analyses compare accessibility patterns within and across the metropolitan areas, along dimensions of income, car-ownership and ethnicity. The study also asks what can explain the vast differences between the metros, by probing into the impacts of factors like housing density, polycentricity, poverty levels, and road congestion. The research team includes Aviv Lee Cohen Zada and Matan Singer. Anna Zanchetta and John Pritchard contributed in the earlier stages of the research.

Freedom of Mobility

Funded by the Institute for Transport Innovation, the purpose of this project is to develop a method to directly measure transport problems across a population. This project takes a different perspective from mainstream transport research, which tends to focus on actual travel behavior or on satisfaction with travel. In contrast, the purpose of the Freedom of Mobility project is to understand the difficulties people encounter during travel and the extent to which poor transport prevents people from traveling. For this purpose, use is made of both traditional survey methods and advanced big data analytics. The research team includes John Pritchard and Rasha Bowirrat. Gali Freund reports on the first results of this project in her master thesis titled ‘Time, Money, and Trips You Didn’t Make: Transport Problems from a Wider Angle’.

Navigating mobility outside urban cores

The aim of this research project is to understand and analyze the mobility challenges and solutions faced by different groups living outside urban cores, in suburbs, ex-urbs and rural communities. The research focuses, amongst others, on teenagers in the Haifa metropolitan area, and on parents and youth in the Tel Aviv area. The research team includes Doron Oren and Avital Arbel.

Cognitive Mainstreaming

This project examines the travel behavior of individuals with cognitive impairments and their barriers to using public transport. To this end, the study develops novel interview methods such as photovoice and image vocabulary to collect travel-experience data directly from people with cognitive impairments. These data are complemented by interviews with housing service providers that have direct knowledge of the travel of individuals with cognitive impairments. Building on this, the research introduces the concept of ‘cognitive mainstreaming’ and develops policy-relevant guidelines for priority-setting in transportation decision making that address the mobility needs of people with cognitive impairments. The research is led by Matan Singer.

Public values in the socio-technical construction of autonomous vehicle implementation

The broad theme of this research is on the ethics of technological urbanism, aiming to better understand the phenomenon of the technological city (often uni-dimensionally referred to as the “smart city”), to identify gaps in its conceptualisations and to find potentials for directing it towards more socially-responsive and ethically-oriented trajectories. The empirical task focuses on an emerging technology with potentially widespread implications on cities and societies: the autonomous vehicle. One study seeks to map a broad spectrum of salient ethical value dimensions of autonomous vehicles using a tool called the Ethical Delphi. The study aims to contribute not only to substantive issues of the social and urban implementation of autonomous vehicles, but also furthering methodological development of the Ethical Delphi for use in novel mobility and smart city technologies.

Building upon value conceptualisations in this study, we further developed case studies on how autonomous vehicle professionals in Israel and Singapore formulate issues in the social implementation of autonomous vehicles. We use the STS frame of the sociotechnical construction of technology, and the lens of public values in public policy with the aim to harness and guide technological development for public interest. In this work, a conceptual framework of the Recognition-Consensus Model for public values is being developed through which four groups of values are categorised: values of high social accord, low social accord, high contention, and subordinate concerns. The analysis of these value groups can help to discern high priority considerations, identify problems with dominant narratives, understand key areas of dissensus, and identify gaps in problem formulation and potential policy gaps. This endeavours to contribute to policy making and governance of emerging technologies with potentially widespread impacts on cities and societies.  This research is carried out by Emily Soh. 

Fairness of employer mobility policy 

Transport-related benefits supplied by employers can have a significant impact on employees’ travel preferences and habits. These mobility policies, some of which are considered to be the general norm, may have many detrimental societal impacts, such as increase in car ownership and usage, increase in urban sprawl and the perpetuation of the inadequacies of the public transport system. The research addresses the socially desired role of employer policy towards employee transportation. This research is carried out by Ya’ara Tsairi. 

Micro-mobility for everyone?

The bicycle and other forms of micro-mobility, such as scooters and e-bikes, are an affordable and sustainable mode of transport. They offer enormous potential to enhance people’s mobility and accessibility, for young and old, poor and rich. Yet, in most cities around the world cycling and other types of micro-mobility are still a fringe mode. Moreover, a small segment of the population tends to dominate among micro-mobility users. For instance, men are strongly overrepresented among cyclists, while shared bicycles and e-scooters are primarily used by young individuals with higher incomes and education. The purpose of this research project is to map and understand the disparities in the use of micro-mobility modes. One current study explores the relationship between social identity and cycling among women in Tel Aviv. This research is carried out by Avi Parsha, who recently presented his work in an international webinar.

Designing youth-centric public spaces

The objective of this research is to identify how design characteristics of public spaces can answer the unique needs of urban adolescents. Through a synthesis of field work and literature research, the aim of this project is to obtain a better understanding of the spatial characteristics that not only attract adolescents to public areas, but also provide the conditions that promote their healthy and prosperous development. This research is led by Michal Banin.