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Accessibility and the local concentration of economic activity: a case study for county Galway

Amaya Vega


Road infrastructure investment has been a major policy instrument to achieve higher levels of accessibility and connectivity among distant regions in Ireland. Increased connectivity is generally regarded as a mechanism to provide strong inter-regional linkages and regional growth. This paper contributes to the debate on the relationship between accessibility and the concentration of activity at the local level in Ireland by investigating the spatial patterns of accessibility and the concentration of economic activity by industrial sector in a particular region of the West of Ireland, County Galway. Geographic Information System (GIS) network analysis is used to construct a gravity-based accessibility index. Standardised Employment Rates (SERs) are computed to generate reliable measures of spatial employment distribution and Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) is carried out to identify local concentrations of economic activity by industrial group. Results show that in general, local spatial concentrations of activity vary by industrial group. While some sectors favour accessibility-rich locations, local concentrations of activity by other sectors are also found in poor accessibility areas. The results from the analysis are discussed in the context of regional policy and the direct implications for transport planning at the local level in Galway.

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