Assessing the transportation needs of low-mobility individuals: Case study of a small urban community in Utah

Sarawut Jansuwan, Keith M. Christensen, Anthony Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Older adults, low-income individuals, and individuals with disabilities are generally considered "low-mobility" individuals, having less access to transportation options and often marginalized in the social environment of the community. This study assessed the transportation needs of low-mobility individuals using three dimensions: (1) travel characteristics, (2) social strength in terms of transportation assistance received from their social networks, and (3) accessibility to public transportation. A mixed survey method combining an in-person interview at the collaborating organizations and a mail-back survey were used. Results showed that older adults remain mobile and make more frequent short trips. The results also showed a much higher reliance on private vehicles among older adults and individuals with low income, whereas a much higher reliance on public transportation and much lower reliance on private transportation was found among individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities were still active, as almost half of them travel to work frequently. However, the number of nonwork trips made by individuals with disabilities was significantly low. These findings indicated a positive relationship between transportation mode choices and social dependence with family and friends. Individuals with stronger family social ties were more likely to receive adequate help meeting their transportation needs. The accessibility analysis revealed that low-mobility individuals in Cache County, Utah, have difficulties accessing transit due to the long walking distances from their residences. These findings may be used to guide policy for improving public transportation and paratransit services to meet low-mobility individuals' needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-114
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Accessibility
  • Elderly
  • Individual with disabilities
  • Low-income individual
  • Low-mobility
  • Social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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