The past few decades have been filled with a deep optimism about the role of cities and suburbs across the world. These engines of economic growth host a majority of world population, are major drivers of economic innovation, and have created pathways to opportunities for untold amounts of people.

While economists, planners, and engineers have promoted accessibility for decades, the concept is more often found in textbooks than formal urban policies. In the first stage of this project, we worked with a team of experts to determine what has stalled practical implementation of appropriate policies and practices? "Delivering Inclusive Access," a report of this initial work, offers a synthesis of what we found and where we believe researchers, policymakers, and practitioners can take this work next. The paper found three central challenges.

The fallacy of the single indicator. The development of a suite of indicators could offer a menu for policymakers and practitioners to judge accessibility based on local objectives, local conditions, and local capacity.

The danger of excessive localization. Countries with a more centralized top down approach to governance, such as France and Germany, have greater ability to formulate metropolitan governance than more decentralized countries such as the U.S.

The finance community is MIA. There is little doubt that fiscal approaches must carefully assess who ultimately pays and that alternative finance instruments should be adapted to foster access for all.

Read the full article about truths in inclusive urban access by Jeffrey Gutman and Adie Tomer at Brookings.