WIT Press

Measuring rapid transit accessibility and equity in migrant communities across 17 European cities


Free (open access)


Volume 3 (2019), Issue 3



Page Range

245 - 258

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Alexandros Bartzokas-Tsiompras & Yorgos N. Photis


Migrants in cities are highly dependent on frequent and fast public transport services. Easy access to rapid transit stations, such as subways or suburban rails, plays a crucial role in shaping migrants’ daily lives and critically influences integration processes at the local level. Nevertheless, in Europe, little is known about migrants’ access to rapid transport facilities. This article is the first one that provides com- parable local indicators of rapid transit accessibility and equity in the supply of transit services for vari- ous migrant and non-migrant groups across 17 European cities. Our analysis was based primarily on an innovative European spatial dataset about migrants’ concentration in cities as well as on several openly available general transit feed specification datasets. Methodologically, we used a classic gravity-based accessibility model, where the average frequency of daily departures was assumed as the attractiveness factor of the instrument. On the other hand, we performed Gini coefficient analysis and created Lorenz curve graphs to assess transit equity. The results allowed us to make interor intracity comparisons and to demonstrate some of the most transit disadvantaged migrant communities in Europe. Our findings suggest that Africans experience on average the worst access, while Americans, in the vast majority of cities, are located in high-access districts. Also, transit equity assessment demonstrated a high level of inequality across all population groups and cities, except Barcelona. A striking result was that 88% of African communities in Turin shared only 10% of rapid transit supply. However, it was confirmed that regardless of people’s nationality, in many cities around Europe, it is difficult for many dwellers to live in close proximity to subways. Therefore, better land-use and mobility policies are required to guide cities towards more inclusive and sustainable urban development.


European cities, gravity index, migrants, rapid transit, transit accessibility, transit equity.