What are the Differences between Mobility, Accessibility, and Connectivity in Transportation Planning?


Mobility is the ability and level of ease of moving goods and services. Some examples of mobility include: Interstate highways providing designated truck lanes to increase the overall amount of goods transported; Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems with bus only lanes that increases the efficiency of moving people while removing automobiles from the roads.  Congestion Management Systems are the trend in mobility due to the lack of funds and the land constraints to keep expanding the transit system infinitely. These systems manage travel demand through innovative ideas to increase volume and capacity.

Accessibility is the quality of travel and takes place at the community and individual level through Access Management techniques to provide access to various land uses. It focuses on travel time, travel cost, travel options, comfort, and risk while addressing the needs of all within the community.  Mobility and accessibility are considered the “ying and yang” of transportation. The goal is to increase the overall capability of the transit system while not compromising efficiency and ease of access. 

Connectivity is the relative location of an object to the destination centers. There are many different levels of hierarchy to connectivity. For example, subdivisions with many deadend cul-de-sacs may have poor connectivity with surrounding land uses. It may take a long time for a family living at the end of a cul-de-sac to get out of the neighborhood and to the main road right behind their house. The destination might not be that far away by distance, but by travel time it is.  Traditional downtowns on the other hand usually have higher connectivity with surrounding neighborhoods. Residential areas designed with streets in a grid format  adjacent to the downtown are often well connected with the business district and decrease the travel time and congestion.