The Role of Transport and Population Components in Change in Accessibility: the Influence of the Distance Decay Parameter


Investment in transport infrastructure is the main factor responsible for decreasing origin-destination travel times, which are then implemented into a potential accessibility measure. This measure uses population size as a proxy for a destination’s attractiveness. Thus, changes in population distribution as well as the development of the transport infrastructure are mutually responsible for changes in accessibility. The potential accessibility measure is applied to assess change in accessibility in Poland over a twenty year period of time (1995–2015). During this time Poland has experienced a significant change in population distribution. At the same time, accession to the European Union provided an opportunity to use the structural funds and has resulted in an unprecedented development of the transport infrastructure, in particular the road network. The coexistence of both phenomena provides perfect conditions to investigate the complex interrelationship of both components of accessibility, namely transport and land-use. This leads towards a change in the level of accessibility and its spatial pattern, resulting in a transformation of the level of territorial cohesion. However, the selection of the particular impedance parameters greatly influences the importance assigned to an element of infrastructure or a component of population accessibility. Thus, several impedance functions are applied in order to capture their influence on the balance between the infrastructure and population components of accessibility change.

Networks and Spatial Economics, 18(2), 291–312