This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Developing and Assessing Long Distance Travel Accessibility Measures to Support Intercity Travel Analyses




McGhee, Jacob

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Civil Engineering


Long distance and intercity travel continues to grow in importance across the country in terms of its impacts on congestion, economies, and quality of life. Accessibility measures help us quantify access to or from a location, but much of the extensive research into accessibility measures has focused on short-term, daily travel, leaving long distance accessibility measures ripe for study. Research has indicated many factors that influence long distance travel, notably: leisure purposes, long distance commuting, air travel, and a destination’s livability. The objective of this thesis was to assess the quality of long distance access for counties across the United States. This was done by calculating thirteen different attribute access measures and four different aggregated access measures, once using straight-line distances between origins and destinations and again using on-road distances. The measures were mapped across the United States to assess any geographic trends and it was found that scores were clustered around the northeast corridor and California. The measures were then grouped into different types of demographics and prominent industries to see if any specific trends could be observed. Additionally, the measures were used in various linear regression models to test their viability. The regression analysis revealed that individual attribute measures performed better than the aggregated measures. Additionally, using measures with straight-line distances had a higher correlation than measures using on-road distances, when looking at things from a macro-level perspective. Furthermore, a key trend observed from these results was that measures that use straight-line distances may not be completely accurate on a micro-level, as many counties that had good access scores with straight-line distances were revealed to have lower scores once driving distances were considered.