Perceived and Functional Independence in Travel: Assessing the Role of Neighborhood Factors and Community-Based Mobility Services for Persons with Disabilities

The authors 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 U.S. 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, the authors 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.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABE60 Accessible Transportation and Mobility
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Thakuriah, Piyushimita (Vonu)
    • Vassilakis, William
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2012


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 22p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 91st Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01363055
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 12-4567
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2012 5:25PM