Analysing Access to Hospital Facilities with GIS
The location of a facility can be examined in the context of several classical frameworks in economic geography and operation research where the facility is located such that some objective function is minimised (ie. Love et al., 1988; Ghosh and McLafferty, 1987; Wrigley, 1988; Fotheringham and O’Kelly, 1989). A frequently encountered objective, for example, is to find the optimal location of a new facility in terms of minimising the average time it takes individuals to travel to the nearest facility. That is, a new facility is added to an existing spatial distribution of facilities in order to achieve the maximum reduction in average travel times (the p-median problem). Other objective functions can of course be used to locate the new facility: it could for example, be located so that the maximum distance any individual has to travel is minimised (the minimax problem). Another slant on the problem is to simultaneously locate a set of facilities and to determine the allocation of demand to each of these facilities (the location-allocation problem). Still another is to model the choice of a facility by an individual as a probabilistic function of the attributes of each facility rather than as a deterministic one (a spatial interaction problem).
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