The usefulness of gravity-based spatial access models is limited because of the uncertainty introduced by the range of values of the impedance coefficient. To solve this problem, this paper proposes the concept of spatial access ratio (SPAR) derived from the enhanced 2-step floating catchment area (E2SFCA) method - a recent extension of the gravity model - to assess potential spatial access. First, a sensitivity assessment is conducted to verify the effectiveness of SPAR and its advantages in overcoming the uncertainty problem. Then, the E2SFCA method and the shortest travel time method are employed to measure potential spatial access to colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention and treatment services in Texas based on data at the census tract level. The socio-demographic and geographic distributions of potential spatial access to CRC services are also examined. The sensitivity assessment reveals substantial fluctuations in the values of the spatial access index calculated directly by the E2SFCA method under different values of the impedance coefficient. However, the values of SPAR remain stable under different values of the coefficient. A comparative analysis indicates that potential spatial access to primary care physicians (PCPs), CRC screening facilities, and oncologists varied among different racial/ethnic and socioeconomic population groups as well as in different geographic regions in Texas. Non-Hispanic blacks, Asians, and people in affluent areas had a geographical advantage in accessing CRC services than other groups. The urban/rural difference was more obvious and serious than those of different racial/ethnic groups and groups with different socio-economic statuses, as metropolitan residents had more than three times the potential spatial access than isolated rural residents. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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