What is the relationship between food shopping and daily mobility? A relational approach to analysis of food access

Jerry Shannon, W. Jay Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Recent research on food access has increasingly focused on how individuals’ daily mobility, much of it based on activity spaces created from GPS data. In this paper, we expand this research through an analysis of a large transit survey (n = 21,298 households) from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. We do this using relational approach focused on the topological connections found in household travel patterns rather than measures of exposure based on geographic distance. Our exploratory data analysis analyzes both grocery shopping and eating out across the metropolitan area, focusing on the position of utilized food sources relative to home and work locations, utilized modes of transit, and other daily activities often combined with food shopping. Households often used food sources located outside their residential neighborhoods, usually moving toward the central city to do so. Eating out occurred farther from home than grocery shopping, though in many cases close to work. Automobile use was most common for grocery shopping trips, but less so in the lowest income households and in the central city. Our findings show that a relational approach can identify distinctive patterns in everyday food provisioning by emphasizing the connections between food shopping and other everyday household activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-785
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Food access
  • Mobility
  • Transit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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