Research Report – Travel Behavior and Mobility of Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Evidence from the National Household Travel Survey

A new report published by SURTC examines travel behavior and mobility of older adults, people with disabilities, individuals from low-income households, and rural residents by analyzing data from the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). NHTS is a nation-wide survey last conducted in 2009.

The study, conducted by researcher Jeremy Mattson, highlights data on driving, trip frequency, staying in the same place all day or week, miles driven per year, mode choice, use of public transportation, trip purpose, trip distance, and issues and concerns regarding transportation. Changes over the last decade were also examined to identify trends in travel behavior.

Findings show how use of transit increases the number of trips taken and provides rides to individuals who would otherwise not make the trip. The study also shows the differences in mobility between different population groups. Half of those 85 or older were found to have a disability or medical condition affecting their ability to travel, and for many of them, it results in reduced day-to-day travel. A strong desire to get out more often was found by those not making a trip within the last week, which shows the importance of mobility on quality of life. People with disabilities or medical conditions were shown to make significantly fewer trips than others, while expressing a desire to get out more often.

Trends from 2001 to 2009 show increased use of transit. Older women are driving more and making more trips than they were a decade ago, slowly closing the gap between older men and women. These trends may continue as the active baby boom generation retires and expects to maintain their mobility.

For more information about the study, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu. The full report can be downloaded at the following link: Travel Behavior and Mobility of Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Evidence from the National Household Travel Survey.

Mattson had previously presented findings from this study at the International Conference on Aging, Mobility and Quality of Life. That presentation is also available on the SURTC website.

 

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SURTC is a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University