Online Program

Environmental and social factors impacting transportation use among persons with disabilities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vijay Vasudevan, PhD, MPH, Department on Disability and Human Development, Institute on Disability and Human Development, Chicago, IL
Yochai Eisenberg, MUPP, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Transportation is a critical factor for persons with disabilities that enhances access to health promoting community sites. It is important for planners and public health professionals to better understand the environmental and social factors that contribute to persons with disabilities successfully using public transportation. As part of a study on community barriers and facilitators to healthy living, 20 focus groups were conducted in 10 states in the U.S. with persons with disabilities (physical, sensory, cognitive) (10 groups ) and professionals (10 groups) who provide services to persons with disabilities. Participants discussed transportation barriers they experience in trying to get around in the community and to specific sites for healthy eating and physical activity. The discussions were transcribed and coded into barriers and facilitators using grounded theory. The major areas of discussion were (1) Infrastructure (limited availability of transit routes, bus shelter availability, distance to travel to healthy promoting sites); (2) Policies (hours of operation, allowing an aid on the bus, transport to school sporting events); (3) Staff (knowledge and attitudes regarding disability, inability of driver to communicate with passenger); (4) Social (volunteer services , crowded buses). (5) Information (difficulty understanding route information, lack of awareness of services available). The focus group analysis indicated that there are many different types of barriers to transportation, that go beyond the physical infrastructure and include social and policy aspects as well. More research is needed to determine the most effective supports that communities can implement to promote healthy, active living among persons with disabilities.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify common barriers and facilitators experienced among persons with disabilities in using public transportation to go to various community locations. Describe the importance of transportation for persons with disabilities in facilitating participation at health promoting sites.

Keyword(s): Community Planning, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a graduate student working on this project and I am getting a PhD in Disability Studies
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.