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Low Income, Supermarket Accessibility, and the Transportation Network: A Multimodal Analysis Identifying Areas of Poor Accessibility and Intervention Strategies in Indianapolis, Indiana

Completed 2015

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service estimates that 23.5 million people live in food deserts, over half of which are considered low-income residents. Accurately defining a food desert is crucial as the designated areas can benefit from grant opportunities and funding priority. To qualify as an urban food desert, the USDA requires that at least 500 residents or one-third of the population live outside a one-mile buffer from a supermarket as well as have a median income of less than 80% of the area average or a poverty rate of greater than 20%. This research aimed to develops a cost surface for auto, transit, and walking to determine the average travel cost to the nearest supermarket for each mode in Indianapolis using Spatial Analyst techniques.  This study considers socioeconomic variables a follows a multimodal approach. The results from this analysis can provide valuable insight into the reasons behind the existence of food deserts.

Read Andrea Bailey's master's thesis: Low income, supermarket accessibility, and the transportation network: a multimodal analysis identifying areas of poor accessibility and intervention strategies in Indianapolis, Indiana