Measures of transport-related social exclusion: A critical review of the literature

Md Kamruzzaman, Tan Yigitcanlar, Jay Yang, Mohd Afzan Mohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Quantitative measures of transport disadvantage are reviewed in this paper from the perspective of their effectiveness to investigate social exclusion. The effectiveness is assessed using criteria derived through a review of the concepts of transport disadvantage and social exclusion and their operationalisation. The specified criteria are related to issues of spatial (e.g., urban accessibility, and public transport accessibility), temporal (e.g., public transport availability, and facility opening hours), and social attributes of travel and activity participation (e.g., personal mobility, and disability). Four groups of transport disadvantage measures are identified and evaluated. These include deprivation-based measures, mobility-based measures, accessibility-based measures, and activity-based measures. The review suggests that although the first three categories of measures have traditionally been used to identify transport disadvantage, they do not satisfy issues surrounding activity participation-the key outcome of social exclusion. The activity space concept is a way in which these issues can be incorporated, as it is a measure of the outcomes of activity participation and their associated travel to that activity. Participation in an activity means that an individual has overcome the spatial, temporal and social barriers of travel for that activity. The research using the activity space concept has, however, inadequately identified individual travel and activity participation. This has been due to a separate application of a range of different indicators to assess activity space size. These indicators are by their nature multidimensional-e.g., area visited, distance travelled, and number of activity sites visited. Although each indicator represents a specific qualitative/quantitative aspect of travel and activity participation, researchers have treated these indicators in an isolated manner to identify transport disadvantage and consequently transport-related social exclusion. This paper identifies the weaknesses and strengths associated with these measures; and methods are directed to overcome the limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number696
Number of pages30
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Accessibility
  • Activity participation
  • Activity spaces
  • Mobility
  • Social exclusion
  • Transport disadvantage
  • Transport-related social exclusion

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