Portland State University. Department of Urban Studies
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies
Older people -- Transportation -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Local transit -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area
1 online resource (vi, 86 pages)
As the elderly population of the United States grows in coming decades, providing personal mobility will be increasingly challenging. The dispersed suburban residential pattern of most metropolitan areas ensures that the personal automobile will continue to be the dominant mode of transportation. Those who voluntarily or involuntarily stop driving will encounter serious constraints in meeting their transportation needs.
Conventional public transit in most cities is tailored to the needs of urban commuters, and is, at best, barely adequate for elderly riders. Supplemental demand-response or subscription "special-needs" services are often inconvenient, sometimes unreliable, and inefficient. Eligibility criteria restrict many non-disabled elderly people from using special-needs services.
A survey of a convenience sample of transit-dependent patrons of five senior centers in Portland, Oregon revealed satisfaction, on average, with existing (conventional and special-needs) service.
A stated-preference survey of a subsample of respondents varied three service attributes--fare, proximity, and headways--in a hypothetical fixed-route neighborhood-area van service. ANOVA identified low fare, alone, to be the determining factor in transit-dependent seniors' choice of this mode. The stated preference data suggest that farebox-recovery assumptions for "premium" scheduled local service might tend toward over-optimistic.
If the proportion of transit-dependent population to the general population were to remain at current levels in the Portland metropolitan area, then the current mix of transit services might be adequate. This assertion is based on the finding that the survey population reports overall satisfaction with the status quo, notwithstanding the genuine inconveniences reported by many. Given demographic projections, however, it is doubtful that the current mix of fixed-route and special needs services could effectively meet the rising demand for local trips for groceries, other types of shopping, social and recreational activities, and medical necessities.
Efficient allocation of future transit resources, along with the success or failure of other service-delivery initiatives, will be contingent upon a thorough understanding of the travel needs and transportation preferences of the burgeoning elderly population. Stated-preference methodology, applied with attention to gerontological considerations, might serve this purpose effectively.
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Burke, Richard James, "Public Transportation for the Elderly: A Neighborhood-Area Fixed-Route Alternative" (1997). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6261.