Accessibility to Healthcare via Public Transport across Canada

The ability to access healthcare services has long been considered a ‘right’ by Canadian citizens, and is protected as such under the Canada Health Act. However, socio-spatial factors can limit access to healthcare services, especially for vulnerable populations. This paper aims to quantify the spatial accessibility to healthcare services by public transport across eight major Canadian metropolitan areas, and compare accessibility to healthcare across vulnerable population groups. Spatial accessibility to general medical and surgical hospitals was measured through a two-step floating catchment area method, taking into account both service-to-population ratios and travel time to these health services. Within cities, accessibility is equitably distributed: residents of vulnerable census tracts generally have greater access to health services by public transport, with the exception of Vancouver. To quantify vertical equity, an indicator was subsequently developed using the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient between accessibility and vulnerability. Results show that larger metropolitan areas (Calgary, Toronto-Hamilton, and Vancouver) tend to underperform in terms of vertical equity and average accessibility. This research highlights the challenges associated with the suburbanization of poverty in large Canadian metropolitan regions and the need to provide efficient public transport services to reach hospitals located in the periphery. This study is of relevance to researchers, planners and policy-makers wishing to improve accessibility to healthcare, especially for vulnerable populations.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ADD50 Standing Committee on Environmental Justice in Transportation.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Boisjoly, Geneviève
    • Deboosere, Robbin
    • Wasfi, Rania
    • Orpana, Heather
    • Manaugh, Kevin
    • Buliung, Ron
    • El-Geneidy, Ahmed
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01697950
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-01463
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2018 9:42AM