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Access to Public Transit and Its Influence on Ridership for Older Adults in Two U.S. Cities

Listed author(s):
  • Baldwin Hess, Daniel


    (University at Buffalo, State University of New York; United States)

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    Growth in the population of older adults (age 60 and above) in coming years will challenge urban planners and transportation managers to provide travel options that support autonomy. To investigate barriers that older adults experience in using public transit, this research explores associations between older adults who do and do not ride fixed-route public transit and their neighborhood walking access to buses and trains. The research tests whether or not the distance between a trip origin or destination and a transit stop or station is a significant factor in predicting frequency of transit ridership. Data from a survey of older adults in California and New York is used to regress older adults’ frequency of riding public transit against explanatory variables, including demographic and socioeconomic variables, access and mobility measures, and neighborhood characteristics. Findings suggest that self-reported walking distance to transit has a statistically significant influence—in San José, California, but not in Buffalo, New York—in predicting transit ridership frequency. Drivers are more sensitive to walking distance than nondrivers. Models estimate that in San José, each additional five minutes in perceived walking time to transit decreases transit ridership frequency by five percent for nondrivers and by 25 percent for drivers. Older adults are likely to ride transit more often if they are male, nonwhite, and low income.

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    Article provided by Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota in its journal The Journal of Tranport and Land Use.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 3-27

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    Handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0016
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    1. Susan Handy & Kelly Clifton, 2001. "Local shopping as a strategy for reducing automobile travel," Transportation, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 317-346, November.
    2. Sara Wilcox & Melissa Bopp & Larissa Oberrecht & Sandra K. Kammermann & Charles T. McElmurray, 2003. "Psychosocial and Perceived Environmental Correlates of Physical Activity in Rural and Older African American and White Women," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 58(6), pages 329-337.
    3. Daniel Baldwin Hess & Tangerine Maria Almeida, 2007. "Impact of Proximity to Light Rail Rapid Transit on Station-area Property Values in Buffalo, New York," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(5-6), pages 1041-1068, May.
    4. Alsnih, Rahaf & Hensher, David A., 2003. "The mobility and accessibility expectations of seniors in an aging population," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 903-916, December.
    5. M.E. Beesley & J.F. Kain, 1964. "Urban Form, Car Ownership and Public Policy: an Appraisal of Traffic in Towns," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 1(2), pages 174-203, November.
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