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Vendor Citilabs
License Proprietary end-user-license-agreement/
Documentation None found online
Data Input ACS/Census, HERE, LODES, GTFS, GIS shapefiles
Data Output GIS database, Microsoft Access Database, maps, Access Score
Website software/sugar/

Sugar offers tools for managing, analyzing, and visualizing transportation networks and accessibility in any community. Sugar has two main components:

  • Sugar Access
  • Sugar Network Editor

Sugar Access

Sugar Access is used to score and understand accessibility to employment opportunities, various errands, public services, and other destinations. It provides multi-modal accessibility calculations. This allows for accessibility measures by different modes and also means that when calculating travel time for transit, Sugar calculates the entire trip length, including walking to and from the station and wait time. Because street and transit data is incorporated in the analysis, accessibility analysis takes into account physical barriers in the street network that may hinder walking to a station. The software comes pre-loaded with data for many communities, but data can also be edited using Sugar's network editor. This allows a user to analyze the impact of non-transit projects on the transit network if it affects accessibility to stations. In order give accurate access scores for transit, Sugar calculates exact travel times, and so requires complete transit network information, include station locations and stop to stop travel times.

Sugar Access can provide the following indicators:

  • Travel times from single origin to many destinations
  • Destination summation for a particular location (number of destinations of a particular type), e.g. parks by walking, jobs by transit
  • Comprehensive accessibility analysis: For an entire population, what % of (jobs, etc.) can be accessed in 10 min, 20 min, 30 min, etc.
  • "Access Score": A weighted score that represents the accessibility implications of a transit scenario (see further discussion below).

Access Score

The software can generate an "Accessibility Score" that is calibrated according to travelers' willingness to to make commute trips of various time lengths according to mode. The below graph shows one comparison of travelers' willingness to accept travel times by mode.[1]

Calculating accessibility.png

Factoring travelers' willingness to travel to weight the usefulness or realistic availability of jobs helps to provide a more complete picture of accessibility and avoids the "cliff effect" where a job that is 31 minutes away is not factored into an indicator of "Jobs within 30 min".

Run time

The accessibility measurements are very computationally intensive, and so can take a long time, depending on a number of factors such as mode choice, network size, number of zones, and computing power. An estimates average run time is 2-4 hours[2]. Measuring transit accessibility tends to take longer than walking or driving.

Case study

Sugar Access was used in Virginia DOT's Smart Scale project.

Sugar Network Editor

Sugar Network Editor (SNE) is an add-on to ESRI's ArcGIS desktop. It allows one to create and maintain transportation networks directly in ArcGIS. These networks are directly compatible with ESRI’s Network Analyst extension and other ESRI extensions, and with transportation software products such as Citilabs Cube and Trafficware® Synchro.

Transit data

Transit data can be imported from GTFS:

  • Route alignments
  • Stop locations
  • Schedules

The SNE allows editing of all of the above features.

Street network

Street network information can also be edited in the SNE. The default roadway map comes from HERE.

Points of interest (POI) / Destinations

POI data is also imported from the HERE dataset (this is the same dataset that is also used for mobile navigation systems). This is used for calculating access to destinations and categories of destinations.

Technical Specifications

Data outputs

All analysis outputs can be exported as an ArcGIS Geodatabase (.GDP) or Microsoft Access database file (.MDB). All outputs used for rendering maps is available in ArcGIS or in exported files.


Sugar requires ArcGIS.

Cost / Licensing

This software is generally licensed on an annual basis, but shorter subscriptions are available with a premium fee. Costs are negotiated on a case by case basis, depending on clients needs.


  1. See slide 6, Eric Sundquist, TCS 2016,
  2. Personal email contact with Matthew Pettit, Product Applications Engineer at Citilabs