Publication Detail

Potential of ITS Services and Technologies to Enhance Mobility of Elderly and Disabled Travelers: Initial Survey Results from Sacramento Area


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Chen, Wan-Hui, Kelley Klaver, Kenneth S. Kurani, Rochelle Uwaine, Paul P. Jovanis (1997) Potential of ITS Services and Technologies to Enhance Mobility of Elderly and Disabled Travelers: Initial Survey Results from Sacramento Area. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-97-02

This study presents the results of a survey conducted in Sacramento, California to investigate elderly and disabled travelers, their levels of disabilities, trip-making patterns, modes of transportation, trip purposes, and perceptions of advanced information technologies and specialized services. Information technologies addressed on the survey included: on-board information, kiosk information, in-home information, and a personal information assistant. A computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) technique was employed to survey the elderly (i.e. those age 65 or older), and in-person interview and mail-out methods were used to survey the disabled (i.e. those under 65 with physical and/or communicational disabilities). In all, 260 elderly surveys and 118 disabled surveys were validly completed for use in the analyses.

The survey results show that there are major differences between the elderly and disabled groups in terms of their levels of disabilities and trip-making characteristics. While the elderly subjects show only slight difficulties with traveling, the disabled group shows a higher level of difficulty, and they are more dependent on others than the elderly. Most of the disabled subjects travel by public transportation to work/school and as passengers in private automobiles for discretionary trips. The large majority of the elderly; on the other hand, drive for all trip purposes. The perception of the most useful information system also differs between the elderly and disabled groups. The disabled feel that the personal information system would be the most useful (55 percent), while the elderly feel the in-home (30 percent), the personal (26 percent), or none (26 percent) of the information systems would be the most useful.

Of the transit users, more disabled than elderly think that each of the information systems could make their trips easier, that they could make up for missed trips, and that they would make more trips by transit/paratransit if the systems were available. In fact, less than 36 percent of the elderly transit users said they would make more trips with any of the four systems available, while 77 to 85 percent of disabled transit users feel that each of the four systems would make trips easier and allow them to make more trips. Transit users are generally happy with transit and would make any additional trips by transit, however, some would consider using real-time paratransit if it were available.

Of the non-transit users, less than half of the disabled and elderly are likely to start using transit if on-board or kiosk information systems were available. Of the three transit systems discussed, the disabled non-transit users would prefer to start using paratransit or real-time paratransit if in-home and/or personal information systems were available, while the elderly nontransit users would prefer to start using real-time paratransit if in-home and/or personal information systems were available.

When asked specifically about real-time paratransit service, the response was generally positive for both the elderly and disabled groups. In fact, real-time paratransit is more likely to increase transit/paratransit ridership among the subjects than any of the advanced information systems.

A log-linear model was developed to investigate the most important factors influencing the subjects' attitudes toward the most useful information system. The results indicate that employment/school status and car availability are the most significant factors. Those who work or go to school, and those with cars available only as a passenger tend to favor the personal information system. Those with cars available as a driver tend to favor the in-home system. Thus, these two factors account for the preference difference between the elderly and the disabled with respect to the advanced information systems.

Further analyses of the survey data and model development is underway. Results will be presented in an additional report.