Measuring Spatial Accessibility to Services within Indices of Multiple Deprivation: Implications of Applying an Enhanced two-Step Floating Catchment Area (E2SFCA) Approach


Approaches to calculating spatial accessibility within existing indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) methodologies are based on ‘traditional’ accessibility metrics and tend not to adopt more recent methodological enhancements. In particular, the last decade has seen a relatively large body of studies that have applied floating catchment area (FCA) methods that account for both service supply and potential demand interactions, mediated by the impact of distance, in a wide range of application areas. In this paper, we investigate potential implications of incorporating an FCA-based approach to measuring spatial accessibility within an existing IMD framework. Using the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) as a case study, FCA-derived accessibility scores were substituted for the existing approach used to calculate accessibility and a revised index was computed. The published methodologies used to construct the other ‘domains’ within the WIMD were followed and the implications for the overall deprivation measure were assessed. Statistical and visualisation tools revealed implications for both the access and overall IMD rankings, with sparsely populated (predominantly rural) areas tending to receive higher accessibility scores from FCA-based approaches than more densely populated (predominantly urban) areas. These areas in turn showed the greatest decline in ranking on the WIMD calculations following the application of FCA approaches. Potential reasons for such trends are posited before we conclude by drawing attention to the implications of adopting FCA-based approaches to calculate IMDs particularly for those policies designed to distribute funds or allocate resources to areas of need.

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This paper is based on research supported by the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD). Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), WISERD is a collaborative venture between the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, South Wales and Swansea (Grant number: ES/L009099/1).

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Fig. S1

Change in LSOA ranking for the ‘access to services’ domain of WIMD-2014 based on ES2FCAderived accessibility scores (5 min catchment zones) (86.9 kb)

Fig. S3

Change in LSOA ranking for overall WIMD-2014 based on ES2FCA-derived accessibility scores (5 min catchment zones) (85.4 kb)

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Page, N., Langford, M. & Higgs, G. Measuring Spatial Accessibility to Services within Indices of Multiple Deprivation: Implications of Applying an Enhanced two-Step Floating Catchment Area (E2SFCA) Approach. Appl. Spatial Analysis 12, 321–348 (2019).

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  • Accessibility
  • Indices of multiple deprivation
  • Two-step floating catchment area
  • Reproducible research