Definition – The differentiation between the terms accessibility and mobility is useful in the context of policy development. Mobility is defined as the potential for movement and the ability to get from one place to another using one or more modes of transport to meet daily needs. As such, it differs from accessibility, which refers to the ability to access or reach a desired service or activity. To illustrate this, it is possible to have good mobility, but poor accessibility. For example, a community with a good highway network and low levels of congestion, but with relatively few employment, shopping and leisure opportunities, has good mobility but poor accessibility. Nevertheless, policies to increase mobility do generally increase accessibility by making it easier to reach destinations further away.
Mobility focuses on the satisfaction of needs, while transport (including vehicles, infrastructure and traffic rules) is the instrument which is required for the concrete realisation of mobility. Consequently, mobility is a direct result of social activities such as living, working, relaxing and production, trade and consumption (for goods). Due to spatial separation of activities, a demand for transport services arises. The type of transport services chosen to meet this need for mobility is the result of a political process.
Relevance to SUMP – In the context of SUMP, the term mobility can be interpreted as the ideal scenario wherein all citizens have environmentally sound, convenient, fast, comfortable and affordable means of transport, helping to improve accessibility across the functioning area of a city.
Source: Handy, 2002