Identifying transportation disadvantage: Mixed-methods analysis combining GIS mapping with qualitative data

Rural residents, including elderly, low-income or people with language or physical mobility challenges, may experience transportation disadvantage when land use patterns, built environment and transportation services fail to meet their mobility needs. A technique for identifying transportation-disadvantaged populations, intended for use by local practitioners and designed with their skills and professional routines in mind, was piloted in five rural counties in North Carolina. Maps showing areas of elevated theoretical risk of transportation disadvantage were constructed by overlaying layers of readily available, Census-based geospatial data, to generate composite maps where increasing intensity of shading denotes populations with multiple risk factors. The maps were used in key informant interviews with local transportation-relevant professionals to access their expert knowledge, and in focus groups with non-expert residents to probe their travel routines and need to access essential goods, services and activities. These multiple data sources supported an iterative process of initial mapping, stakeholder outreach, revised mapping, and continued discussion. The authors' findings both corroborated some a priori expectations, and yielded unexpected insights into which residents may experience transportation disadvantage and how they respond. The work demonstrates how local knowledge can be used to identify unique or non-spatial components of transportation disadvantage, and underscores the importance of locally specific knowledge to support planning efforts to identify and ultimately to address transportation disadvantage.


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  • Accession Number: 01597235
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 12 2016 9:53AM