Accessibility and Cognition: The Effect of Transport Mode on Spatial Knowledge

Urban Studies, April 2010; vol. 47, 4: pp. 845-866., first published on December 7, 2009

Andrew Mondschein, Evelyn Blumenberg, and Brian Taylor

“Spatial behaviour and decision-making require knowledge of the urban environment, including opportunities available and the means to reach them. Thus, variations in spatial knowledge can result in radically different levels of effective accessibility, despite similar locations, demographics and other factors commonly thought to influence travel behaviour. Cognitive maps, which develop primarily through wayfinding and travel experience, are individuals’ repositories of spatial knowledge. This paper examines whether differences in cognitive maps can be explained, in part, by variations in travel mode. Adults were surveyed in two Los Angeles neighbourhoods with relatively low auto use and high transit use. The data show that spatial knowledge does indeed vary with previous experience with travel modes.”

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