Accessibility in practice: 20-minute city as a sustainability planning goal

Denise Capasso Da Silva, David A. King, Shea Lemar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Cities can enhance their sustainability planning by prioritizing accessibility as a performance metric for transportation planning. In this context, accessibility measures the ease of reaching opportunities and capturesmore characteristics of sustainable cities than themore conventionally used mobility metrics, focusing on the overall ability to move and generally recommending faster speeds to overcome distance. However, how cities can prioritize accessibility in planning is understudied. This research presents a case of Tempe, Arizona, putting accessibility into practice through a 20-min lens. Using a 20-min threshold for all modes, the city aims to promote travel for daily activities that is less reliant on private autos. The analysis presented here documents the challenges that planners face when planning for accessibility. The challenges range from technical points to decisions that need to be made about the quality of the built environment. The analysis also shows that Tempe, which is a classically suburban city of wide roads and single-family homes that was built around the automobile, is highly accessible by a 20-min metric by bicycling, walking and transit. These results suggest that planners focus on street network improvements that prioritize accessibility as part of a sustainability strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number129
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • 20-minuty city
  • Accessibility
  • Bicycle
  • Pedestrian planning
  • Sustainable cities
  • Transit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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