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Measures of Spatial Accessibility to Health Care in a GIS Environment: Synthesis and a Case Study in the Chicago Region


  • Wei Luo
  • Fahui Wang


This article synthesizes two GIS-based accessibility measures into one framework, and applies the methods to examining spatial accessibility to primary health care in the Chicago ten-county region. The floating catchment area (FCA) method defines the service area of physicians by a threshold travel time while accounting for the availability of physicians by their surrounded demands. The gravity-based method considers a nearby physician more accessible than a remote one and discounts a physician's availability by a gravity-based potential. The former is a special case of the latter. Based on the 2000 Census and primary care physician data, this research assesses the variation of spatial accessibility to primary care in the Chicago region, and analyzes the sensitivity of results by experimenting with ranges of threshold travel times in the FCA method and travel friction coefficients in the gravity model. The methods may be used to help the US Department of Health and Human Services and state health departments improve designation of Health Professional Shortage Areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei Luo & Fahui Wang, 2003. "Measures of Spatial Accessibility to Health Care in a GIS Environment: Synthesis and a Case Study in the Chicago Region," Environment and Planning B, , vol. 30(6), pages 865-884, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envirb:v:30:y:2003:i:6:p:865-884

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    3. Liyun Lin & Haoying Han & Wanglin Yan & Shun Nakayama & Xianfan Shu, 2019. "Measuring Spatial Accessibility to Pick-Up Service Considering Differentiated Supply and Demand: A Case in Hangzhou, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-22, June.
    4. Subramanian, Divya & Jana, Arnab, 2019. "Evaluating the cultural ecosystem services of India: Comparison of budget allocations to improve the use value of recreational open spaces," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-1.
    5. Stępniak, Marcin & Pritchard, John P. & Geurs, Karst T. & Goliszek, Sławomir, 2019. "The impact of temporal resolution on public transport accessibility measurement: Review and case study in Poland," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 8-24.
    6. Jingyuan Chen & Yuqi Bai & Pei Zhang & Jingyuan Qiu & Yichun Hu & Tianhao Wang & Chengzhong Xu & Peng Gong, 2019. "A Spatial Distribution Equilibrium Evaluation of Health Service Resources at Community Grid Scale in Yichang, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-28, December.
    7. Wantong Xu & Fuguang Zhang & Biao Zeng & Taibao Yang & Hui Wang, 2019. "Spatial Access to Medical Services in the Underdeveloped Region of Northwestern China: A Case Study in Lanzhou City," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(23), pages 1-14, November.
    8. Gerardo Carpentieri & Carmen Guida & Houshmand E. Masoumi, 2020. "Multimodal Accessibility to Primary Health Services for the Elderly: A Case Study of Naples, Italy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-15, January.
    9. Yu, Dongwei & Tan, Hongwei & Ruan, Yingjun, 2012. "An improved two-step floating catchment area method for supporting district building energy planning: A case study of Yongding County city, China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 156-163.
    10. Wang, Jianying & Dong, Lei & Cheng, Ximeng & Yang, Weijun & Liu, Yu, 2019. "An extended exploration and preferential return model for human mobility simulation at individual and collective levels," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 534(C).
    11. Hyunjoong Kim & Fahui Wang, 2019. "Disparity in Spatial Access to Public Daycare and Kindergarten across GIS-Constructed Regions in Seoul, South Korea," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(19), pages 1-14, October.
    12. Jinguang Zhang & Yingyi Cheng & Wei Wei & Bing Zhao, 2019. "Evaluating Spatial Disparity of Access to Public Parks in Gated and Open Communities with an Improved G2SFCA Model," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(21), pages 1-19, October.

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