Date of Award:

Spring 2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Department:

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Advisor/Chair:

Keith M. Christensen

Abstract

Gaining access to transportation is essential for obtaining employment, education, healthcare, and social interaction. Individuals who face difficulties in gaining this access are considered ‘transportation disadvantaged’ and include individuals of lower socioeconomic status, aging individuals, and persons with disabilities. In our autodependent society, individuals with disabilities face even fewer opportunities to interact within their communities. In order to better understand how individuals with disabilities are limited by their access to transportation, two studies were conducted.

The first study specifically seeks to examine how individuals with disabilities gain access to transportation and the interpersonal relationships that affect opportunities for social participation in the community. A self-administered online questionnaire was disseminated to individuals residing in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. Individuals with disabilities were found to have less access to private vehicles and to utilize public transportation more than previously reported. The majority of individuals with disabilities feel that their access level to transportation hindered their social life.

The second study, using the same survey as the first study with some variation of the questions and a larger sample size, sought to understand the needs of individuals with disabilities from a national perspective. Individuals were found to use private vehicles less and more public transportation than previous studies have shown. Individuals with more significant disabilities were more likely to face transportation-related exclusion.

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