University of Vermont Transportation Research Center

Targeted Investment for Food Access

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This project focuses on modeling access to food locations by identifying the most critical roadway links in a transportation network. This project extends the Critical Closeness Accessibility (CCA) measure developed by Novak and Sullivan (2014) to identify the roadway infrastructure components that are most critical with respect to food accessibility. Specifically, origin and destination weighting are included for the application of food security, where origins are weighted according to household vulnerability and destinations are weighted by retail-grocery square footage. The CCA is further extended by calibrating the trip impedance constant, ω, in the original formulation of the CCA with actual grocery-shopping data from the National Household Travel Survey. This calibration modifies the functional form of the accessibility measure to address trips focused on food access and thus incorporates realistic travel expectations for retail grocery familiarity of households. The project also provides a unique method for estimating household level vulnerability characteristics using population synthesis. The modification of the CCA to address food accessibility can be used to support more targeted investment in transportation assets, as the CCA is indexed to specific roadway links in the network. The methodology is demonstrated using the Travel Demand Model of Chittenden County, Vermont.