Perceived and functional independence in travel: assessing the role of neighborhood factors and community-based mobility services for persons with disabilities

Thakuriah, P. and Vassilakis, W. (2012) Perceived and functional independence in travel: assessing the role of neighborhood factors and community-based mobility services for persons with disabilities. In: Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington DC, USA, Jan 2012,

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We examine the relationships between environmental factors (neighborhood characteristics and community-based transportation services) and the degree of perceived and functional independence in travel for a sample of persons with disabilities residing in urban and suburban US locations with a wide variety of neighborhood conditions. Perceived ability is a self-reported measure on a Likert-type ordinal scale while the functional ability scale reflects the “Mode of Transportation” and “Shopping” aspects of the Lawton-Brody Instrument Activities of Daily Living scale. Neighborhood characteristics examined are walkability, population density, percent owner-occupied housing and age and racial/ethnic diversity, while community-based transportation services considered are volunteer driver services, van-based demand response programs and taxi services that are operated either by community organizations, senior care centers or transit agencies. Using cluster analysis, we first cluster persons with disabilities into three homogeneous groups based on their sociodemographic, health and disability status. Results from ordered probit models that start with an assessment of endogeneity between the independence scales and the environmental factors and controls for cluster membership, indicate that neighborhood characteristics and community-based transportation services interact in complex ways and that while neighborhood characteristics are important, they become less important in explaining perceived and functional independence when some of the community transportation factors are introduced. The results imply that communities may support persons with disabilities by pursuing planning and programmatic activities that enhance both aspects of environmental factors - neighborhood characteristics that support an independent and active life as well as specialized community-based transportation services.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Thakuriah, Professor Piyushimita
Authors: Thakuriah, P., and Vassilakis, W.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences

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