This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Cities, Networks, and Urban Policy.
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Direct experience of social difference is crucial if lower levels of prejudice and greater social cohesion are to be achieved in our cities. Despite their key role of connecting places and people, transport infrastructures have scarcely been assessed as facilitators of encounters with social difference. Furthermore, urban contexts are progressively more complex due to the increasing relevance of transport multimodality along with the unequal degree of access to different transport modes. Building upon network analysis and consolidated accessibility measures, this study presents multi-accessibility as a concept and quantitative instrument to evaluate the potential encounter of difference in city spaces opened up by multimodal transport infrastructures. Multi-accessibility is also presented as a relevant and complementary policy avenue to enhancing social cohesion through transport planning and land use policies in the future. Two planning scenarios for the case of the Madrid metropolitan area illustrate the application, utility and interpretability of the instrument.