The Commuter Environment: A New Measure of Food Access

Authors: Shellye Suttles*, Indiana University, Unai Miguel Andres, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Daniel E Knudsen, Indiana University
Topics: Food Systems, Transportation Geography
Keywords: food access, accessibility, commuter environment, Central Indiana, Indianapolis
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Governors Square 9, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


According to the USDA, food access is defined as the accessibility to and affordability of full-service grocery retailers. There are a variety of different measures of food access that include travel distance/time to shopping, store density, availability of healthy foods, access to private transportation, food prices, etc. However, the majority of food access measures center on a single situational point (mainly a household’s home address) as the sole environment from which individuals can access food. Using the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics, we expand the measure of food access to consider a household’s commuter environment, most particularly both their home and work addresses. We anticipate finding a more robust measure of food access based on our preliminary analysis of Indianapolis, Indiana – a city once ranked as the worst for food access in the United States.

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