Itzhak Benenson Seminar: The use of big urban data for a human view of accessibility and equity

Wednesday, 25th November 2015
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Conference Room, Urban Big Data Centre, 7 Lilybank Gardens, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK G12 8RZ

UBDC is delighted to announce a seminar with Dr Itzhak Benenson, Professor of Geography and Head of Geosimulation and Spatial Analysis Lab at Tel Aviv University.

Dr Benenson will present on 'The use of big urban data for a human view of accessibility and equity'.

Registration is not required, but spaces are on a first-come basis. Tea, coffee and refreshments will be provided to attendees.


Accessibility is a key indicator to assess transport investments, urban policy and urban form. Typically, accessibility is modelled at a granular level of transport analysis zones (TAZ). An adequate view of urban accessibility demands analysis at a spatial resolution relating to human mobility - moving from one building at the point of origin and arriving to another building at the point of destination. Until recently, the possibility of this view was limited by the availability of spatially-explicit data. Nowadays, these data become available but their use raises heavy computational problems: A typical metropolitan area with a population of several millions demands processing of hundreds of thousands of origins and destinations, tens of thousands street segments and thousands of transit lines of different kinds (Benenson et al., 2010; 2011).

We present an approach and computer application aimed at a detailed high-resolution spatially-explicit computation of travel times by transit and car that exploits available data on trip demand (e.g. full Origin-Destination matrix) at resolution of separate buildings. Currently exploited OD-matrix is estimated based on travel behaviour surveys, but can be rebuilt it based on cellular phone data.

We apply our high-resolution application to compare the old and new public transport (PT) system in Tel Aviv, Israel and investigate the importance of specific PT lines. High-resolution analysis of the PT network of Tel Aviv metropolitan reveals large gaps in the accessibility levels estimated at different spatial scales (i.e. between low and high resolutions) as well as between car-based and transit-based mobility. Based on high-resolution estimates of accessibility we propose a series of new unbiased aggregate measures that estimate the effectiveness of the transport system and equality of system users, demonstrate how to apply the proposed indices and the maps of these indices for the spatial analysis of transport network changes and discuss their advantages and limitations.


Dr Itzhak Benenson



Professor of Geography at the Department of Geography and Human Environment of the Tel Aviv University and a Head of Geosimulation and Spatial Analysis Lab there. 

My research focuses on Geosimulation and Spatial Analysis of urban and regional phenomena. This includes analysis of big urban data, modeling of urban and regional dynamics, long-term impact of local and regional plans, use of public transport and parking in the city, vehicle-pedestrian interactions and road accidents. I am associated editor of the Computers Environment and Urban Systems and serve on the editorial board of several other journals, published 3 books and more than 100 papers.