Alex McVittie

Grocery store proximity

Exploring proximity of stores within walking distances of low-income neighbourhoods.



Grocery stores are a regularily accessed and necessary amenity, requiring multiple trips to and from them per month. Individuals with access to a vehicle can travel to and from any grocery store in a city with ease. However, lower income individuals often do not have the same privilege of having a motor vehicle to get around the city, instead having to rely on using a bicycle or walking.

This geospatial tool has been developed to visualize neighbourhoods of primarily lower income that are not within easy walking or cycling distance of grocery stores. To help aid those without vehicular access for groceries, this tool could be utilized to create a community food delivery system could be deployed by existing local food delivery services. By delivering in bulk to multiple residences in a community, this could minimize delivery fees as opposed to existing grocery delivery companies which often do not operate in bulk in neighbourhoods.

The data displayed contains only neighbourhoods where the population within the neighbourhood is comprised of more than 40% of the residents earning under $30,000 per year, the defined low-income value by Statistics Canada. The neighbourhoods are classified on a gradient colour ramp based on the neighbourhoods proximity to grocery stores by walking. A short walk (< 5 minutes) would be coloured green, and as the walk time increases, the colour becomes closer to red.

Interactive maps

Two cities, Brampton and Waterloo, have been analyzed for proof of concept, but the methodology can be applied to most Canadian cities, provided a valid street network dataset can be obtained. Click on one of the corresponding images below to access the interactive walkability maps.

Map showing areas of low income in Brampton.
Map showing areas of low income in Waterloo.


If you would like this analysis done on your city, or more information on this analysis, please contact me so we can discuss implementation for your region of interest.

Created for the 2017 Equithon at uWaterloo.