Access to Independent Living Services for People with Disabilities across the United States: An Exploratory Network Analysis

Authors: Kourtney Johnson*, University of Montana, RTC:Rural, Christiane von Reichert, University of Montana, Lillie Greiman, RTC:Rural, University of Montana
Topics: Disabilities
Keywords: disability, network analysis, accessibility, Centers for Independent Living
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor


Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are nonresidential, nonprofit agencies that provide independent living services and supports to people with disabilities all across the nation. The services and supports CILs provide are invaluable to people with disabilities living in the community. Centers for Independent Living are generally funded to serve not only the cities and towns in which they are located but also surrounding counties. However, data on these counties service areas are disjointed and their availability limited. Accessibility to CIL services is not only a matter of county service areas but also a question of how far individuals are required to travel to access those services. A transportation network analysis provides alternative method for measuring geographic access to CIL services. A Network Analysis was chosen over straight line Euclidean Distance measures because it uses road networks to provide a more accurate measurement of travel distance commonly made by vehicle. TransCAD 7 software was used to conduct a Network Analysis based on major US roads, creating distance bands with the CIL locations as the points of origin. To better understand how many households with a disability are within these distance bands, we incorporated block group data from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey (ACS) into the analysis. We see higher network coverage in urban areas where there is a higher concentration of CIL locations and major roads compared to rural areas indicating that people with disabilities living in rural areas have limited access to CIL services.

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