A travel shed is the set of all the destinations that can be reached from a location within a specified time budget. Travel sheds are valuable both for visualizing and analyzing residents’ access to key services, but also for defining service areas for businesses and other service provider locations, such as schools, transit stations, hospitals, and fire stations.
Geographic information systems (GIS) software can compute and display travel sheds using a set of techniques called network analysis. We’re all somewhat familiar with the power of network analysis as, behind the scenes, it’s what makes the basic navigation apps on our phones work. And, of course, network analysis algorithms are completely dependent on having high-quality GIS data, which forms a digital model of the real world travel “network.”