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Persistent Homology for Resource Coverage: A Case Study of Access to Polling Sites

by   Abigail Hickok, et al.

It is important to choose the geographical distribution of public resources in a fair and equitable manner. However, it is complicated to quantify the equity of such a distribution; important factors include distances to resource sites, availability of transportation, and ease of travel. In this paper, we use persistent homology, which is a tool from topological data analysis, to study the effective availability and coverage of polling sites. The information from persistent homology allows us to infer holes in the distribution of polling sites. We analyze and compare the coverage of polling sites in Los Angeles County and five cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Jacksonville, New York City, and Salt Lake City), and we conclude that computation of persistent homology appears to be a reasonable approach to analyzing resource coverage.


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