Food Deserts: Evaluating Grocery Stores and Bus Accessibility using GIS in Madison, Wisconsin
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A major challenge facing low-income neighborhoods is the growing presence of food deserts. Food deserts are caused by lack of availability of healthy food and poor public transit systems. In order to assess food deserts in Madison, Wisconsin, the authors developed a scoring system to rate supermarkets and bus services. The scoring system contains two components. Supermarket scoring is based on the NEMS-S, and looks at price, availability, and quality of healthy food. Bus scoring is a new development and takes into account the number of routes, numbers of routes in a food desert, frequency, and number of food deserts served. The scoring system helps assess how low income and food desert areas are serviced in regards to healthy food access. The authors used GIS technology to assess and examine differences in the food desert definitions.