TRCLC 17-8

Transportation Access and Individuals with Disabilities’ Community Integration 

PIsKeith Christensen, Associate Professor, University of Utah
Ziqi Song, Assistant Professor, University of Utah.


The purpose of this study was to spatially and analytically assess the transportation needs and behaviors of individuals with disabilities, and other disadvantaged populations, residing within Utah’s Wasatch Front region to provide recommendations to improve the design, planning, and management of the Utah Transit Authority’s public transportation system.  The study objectives included; developing a topological accessibility Index of Transit Provision to represent fixed-route bus and light-rail service patterns and capacity, developing an Index of Transit Need representing the spatial-temporal organization of individuals with disabilities’ activities of daily living and indicators of transportation disadvantage, and using these two measures comparatively to develop an Index of Transit Disparity between transit Need and Provision to identify under-served areas within the Wasatch Front from the perspective of individuals with disabilities.



Transportation is fundamental for individuals’ need to engage with their community for employment, goods and services, health, education, and socializing; with individuals with increased access to transportation reporting greater quality of life and lower levels of social isolation.  Individuals with disabilities, who often lack private transportation options, are frequently more dependent on public transportation systems. Therefore, it is imperative that public transportation systems be planned to better meet the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, who represent a significant 9.9% of the total population of Utah, and other disadvantaged populations.


Research Results:

The findings suggest that 58.7% of individuals with disabilities living within the Wasatch Front Region do so in areas with greater than average transit disparity, or both less than average access to public transit and above average need based on socioeconomic factors.  The results identify 26 areas with very high transit disparity, 92 with high transit disparity, and 516 which are above average.  Addressing those areas of higher transit disparity through prioritizing new transit investment or the reallocation of existing transit services will contribute to greater equity in individuals with disabilities’ access to activities of community living across the Wasatch Front Region.


Final Report