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Research Projects

STATUS: In Progress YEAR: 2024 TOPIC AREA: Public transit, land use, and urban mobility Safety and security Sustainability, energy, and health CENTER: PSR

Closing the Gap: A Comparative Study of Transportation Accessibility for Adults with Disabilities in Urban and Rural California

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-23-19
Funding source: USDOT
Contract number: 69A3552348309
Funding amount: $100,000
Performance period: 3/1/2024 to 5/15/2025

Project description

This research addresses the critical issue of transportation accessibility for individuals with disabilities in both urban and rural settings, with a focus on Los Angeles County and Tulare County in California. Approximately 25.5 million Americans with disabilities face significant barriers to travel outside their homes, impacting essential aspects of life such as healthcare, employment, housing, and social interactions. Despite the prevalence of disabilities, there is little research on the challenges faced by these individuals, particularly in considering the difference in accessibility in urban and rural settings.

The purpose of this research is to understand the constraints on travel of those with disabilities and its consequences. People with disabilities – those who have hearing, visual, cognitive, or physical limitations – make fewer trips and travel fewer miles than the general population (Brumbaugh, 2018). We will address the following questions: 1) what is the accessibility gap for populations with disabilities relative to the general population, 2) how do individuals navigate the transportation system, and what needs and challenges do they face, and 3) what are the impacts on social exclusion and well-being?

The proposed research will have two parts. The first part will generate accessibility measures to compare the accessibility of those with disabilities with those who do not have mobility constraints. The second part will conduct small group interviews to explore and understand the lived experiences and transportation challenges of those with disabilities, including impacts on social exclusion and well-being. The research will be conducted in two California counties, Los Angeles and Tulare, in order to include a broad range of populations, local geographies, and support services.


Genevieve Giuliano
Professor; Margaret and John Ferraro Chair in Effective Local Government; Senior Associate Dean for Research and Technology; Director, METRANS , Sol Price School of Public Policy
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 216Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
[email protected]