UC Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning and Energy Technologies Area Berkeley Lab post doc Yanyan Xu and Luis E. Olmos, Qatar Computing Research Institute's Sofiane Abbar, and UC Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Energy Technologies Area Berkeley Lab Professor Marta C. González recently published Deconstructing laws of accessibility and facility distribution in cities in Science Advances Magazine: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/37/eabb4112
The era of the automobile has seriously degraded the quality of urban life through costly travel and visible environmental effects. A new urban planning paradigm must be at the heart of our road map for the years to come, the one where, within minutes, inhabitants can access their basic living needs by bike or by foot. In this work, we present novel insights of the interplay between the distributions of facilities and population that maximize accessibility over the existing road networks. Results in six cities reveal that travel costs could be reduced in half through redistributing facilities. In the optimal scenario, the average travel distance can be modeled as a functional form of the number of facilities and the population density. As an application of this finding, it is possible to estimate the number of facilities needed for reaching a desired average travel distance given the population distribution in a city.