The New Narrative of Accessibility: Its potential contribution to discourses in (Transport) Geography

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A new narrative of accessibility has been incorporated into policy discourses in Great Britain. The paper's aim is to contribute to the welcome debate in transport geography which concerns itself with accessibility and its potential relation with wider discourses, particularly those of sustainability, globalisation and new mobilities. The paper offers thoughts on the extent to which accessibility may have a role in this debate. It is argued that a fuller conceptualisation of accessibility has the potential to achieve fuller understandings of accessibility-based policy goals and their implications, as well as informing the design of instruments to achieve policy delivery. To this end, notions of 'universal' and 'relative' rights are summarised and discussed in the accessibility context. A simple notional system is proposed through which the roles in accessibility of these two 'types' of rights may be recognised and understood. It is also proposed that a concept of 'strong' and 'weak' accessibility, paralleling similar ideas of sustainability, can be of value in the design of policy aimed at achieving greater accessibility and hence social inclusion and social dimensions of sustainability. The potential for a fruitful conceptual interaction between an accessibility narrative and discourses of globalisation and new mobilities is explored with a view to stimulating debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Issue number5
Early online date19 Jan 2007
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • accessibility
  • globalisation
  • sustainability
  • mobilities
  • social inclusion
  • exclusion
  • travel


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