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Urban transportation, Transportation -- Planning, Local transit accessibility -- Evaluation


Objective: Drawing from the framework of social determinants of health, the objective of this paper was to investigate the crosssectional association between transportation-related factors and self-perceived physical health among adults in the U.S. while adjusting for known demographic and socioeconomic-related factors.

Methods: Data for this report were derived from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey. An analytic sample of 71,235 respondents aged 18 and 64 years was analyzed using binary logistic regression. The outcome variable examined was self perceived physical health and the main explanatory variable was a measure of household vehicle deficit.

Results: Of the 71,235 respondents examined, 8.9% perceived their physical health to be poor. About 36% of the respondents had fewer vehicles per individual in the household. Controlling for the effects of other factors, respondents who had fewer vehicles per individuals in the household were 1.27 times more likely to report poor self-perceived physical health when compared to their counterparts with more vehicles per individuals in the household (AOR=1.27, 95% CI=1.17-1.39). Having higher education, higher income, and homeownership were inversely associated with poor self-perceived physical health.

Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that as the gap between the number of household members and the number of vehicles present increases, respondents' self-perceived physical health deteriorates due to the uncertainty in having access to transportation when the need arises. Social workers, engineers, and policymakers should begin working on viable solutions to reduce or eliminate transportation barriers and address disparities created by lack of access to reliable transportation.


This is a final report, NITC-SS-1361 from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) program of the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University.

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