Social Facility and Location Planning

Accessibility modelling in support of social facility location planning

The CSIR has pioneered the development of a customised methodology using accessibility modelling to support facility location planning which contributes to better access to services in South Africa.

Service access planning enables the effective provision of service delivery and facilities by supporting the correct placement and right-sizing of facilities and thereby ensuring greater accessibility to services. It also ensures the efficient use of facilities by locating them in the places which serve the greatest number of people within the shortest distance. Investment in social facility provision can thus be maximised and directed into providing facilities at those locations which best serve their communities.

Through this process, service accessibility and availability can be audited; facility services catchment areas demarcated; areas with poor access to services or where there is insufficient service capacity to meet the demand for the service identified for action; good locations to situate new or consolidated facilities pinpointed; investment impacts on services backlogs can be determined; and, the prioritisation of investments to achieve the greatest service reach made.

The South African constitution affects every citizen’s access to basic services and accordingly it has become a legislative requirement for local authorities to prepare integrated development plans (IDPs), develop performance management systems and promote development. Part of the prerequisite of basic services is the provision of social facilities, e.g. primary health care, parks, sports fields and community halls. These facilities must be sufficient and equitably available to the public1. Interaction modelling is the process applied to determine access to facilities. It is also used to determine equitable service provision and to provide inputs in the overall Service access planning.

Achieving equitability is possible only if the areas that are under or over-provided are identified and corrective action is applied through appropriate planning and implementation. Determining the spatial mismatch between supply and demand is established by deciding on suitable standards pertinent to a specific facility, which will be related to:

  1. The demand (the population who will use the facility)
  2. Acceptable travel costs (time or distance) to the facility and
  3. The capacity of existing facilities (based on size and functionality).

Basically, it boils down to what the maximum distance is that people are willing to travel to a facility, and whether that facility will have enough capacity to accommodate them once they get there. If these criteria are met, the provision of the facility by a local authority can be deemed equitable.

The key output of service access planning is to achieve a sustainable and rational capital investment/expansion plan as input to a facility management plan for individual line departments.

For more information contact:

Chéri Green, CSIR

Gerbrand Mans, CSIR

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