Measuring Access to Determine the Effect on Market Value

A project supported by The Appraisers Research Foundation*

by M. Gordon Brown, DTech, FRICS
Principal, Space Analytics
PO Box 565
Wauconda, IL 60084

1. Introduction: what is reasonable access?
Use of the term ‘access’ has increased exponentially over the past several decades. We often hear of access to healthcare, to transportation, to political influence, to capital, to educational resources, to insurance programs, to justice or economic power. We have access to almost any kind of information through the Internet. But, while access through electronic networks has become more convenient, access through everyday street networks has become less convenient. There are multiple reasons, some more justified than others, that access between street networks and adjacent parcels of real estate has changed over the past several decades. One pervasive reason is that access has never been objectively measured. This article shows how to measure access.

That a parcel of real property needs access from a street to be useful is a common-sense notion. So is the notion that some forms of access are better than others. But the myriad legal disputes about property access takings that reach appeals courts in court systems of the United States indicates little understanding of what constitutes ‘reasonable’ access.

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* Part of this paper was presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Real Estate Society