Conference paper
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ABSTRACT: Urban mobility is a key determinant of household social status. The capacity to traverse urban space to undertake employment and to obtain the various goods and services that contribute to social wellbeing is dependent upon the transport options available to households. Contemporary planning for urban mobility is overwhelmingly focused on catering for travel by private automobile. Households that lack the financial or personal capacities to travel by car are potentially at a disadvantage in their ability to achieve social wellbeing. This paper examines the links between household social status and transport disadvantage through a review of concepts for the analysis of transport disadvantage in urban research and policy making. The paper argues that new approaches to understanding transport disadvantage are necessary if we are to begin to address the adverse consequences of constrained or restricted urban mobility. The paper argues that GIS-based analyses offer substantial scope for better understanding urban transport disadvantage. The paper presents findings from a case study of the Gold Coast City that tested GIS techniques for investigating how uneven social geographies and infrastructure provision differentially affect various social groups. The study found that within the Gold Coast many social groups that are potentially vulnerable to transport disadvantage, such as the unemployed and the elderly fared relatively better than the overall population in terms of spatial and temporal access to public transport. By comparison young people on average suffered greater transport disadvantage that the overall population. The study concludes by arguing for greater attention to issues of transport disadvantage and to the development of more sophisticated and empirically richer techniques for the analysis of transport disadvantage.

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