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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 12938-12968; doi:10.3390/ijerph111212938

Overall Accessibility to Traveling by Rail for the Elderly with and without Functional Limitations: The Whole-Trip Perspective

1
Ekman Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, SE-106-91 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, P.O. Box 210, SE-171-77 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, SE-106-91 Stockholm, Sweden
4
Ekman Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, SE-106-91 Stockholm, Sweden
5
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, P.O. Box 857, SE-501-15 Borås, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 September 2014 / Revised: 30 November 2014 / Accepted: 8 December 2014 / Published: 12 December 2014
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Abstract

Elderly persons’ perceived accessibility to railway traveling depends on their functional limitations/diseases, their functional abilities and their travel behaviors in interaction with the barriers encountered during whole trips. A survey was conducted on a random sample of 1000 city residents (65–85 years old; 57% response rate). The travels were perceived least accessible by respondents with severely reduced functional ability and by those with more than one functional limitation/disease (e.g., restricted mobility and chronic pain). Those who traveled “often”, perceived the accessibility to be better than those who traveled less frequently. For travelers with high functional ability, the main barriers to more frequent traveling were travel costs and low punctuality. For those with low functional ability, one’s own health was reported to be the main barrier. Our results clarify the links among existing functional limitations/functional abilities, the barriers encountered, the travel behavior, and the overall accessibility to traveling. By operationalizing the whole-trip concept as a chain of events, we deliver practical knowledge on vulnerable groups for decision-making to improve the transport environment for all. View Full-Text
Keywords: accessibility; travel behavior; functional limitation; barrier; railway travel; older persons accessibility; travel behavior; functional limitation; barrier; railway travel; older persons
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sundling, C.; Berglund, B.; Nilsson, M.E.; Emardson, R.; Pendrill, L.R. Overall Accessibility to Traveling by Rail for the Elderly with and without Functional Limitations: The Whole-Trip Perspective. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 12938-12968.

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