Transit Services for the Elderly and Preventive Healthcare Attainment

Authors: Weijing Wang*, Michigan State University, Zeenat Kotval-K, Michigan State University, Linda Keilman, Michigan State University
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Transportation Geography
Keywords: Transit Services, Elderly, Health, Census Tract
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This study examines the impact of the provision (and aspects related to the provision) of specialized transit services for the elderly population on the attainment of preventive health care services in selected cities across the state of Michigan. Many elderly citizens are advised to stop driving due to their decreasing physical and mental conditions. However, the current transit system may not be a good substitute for the private vehicle as the elderly find walking and waiting at bus stops increasingly challenging. The elderly would benefit more from “door-through-door” service, which most transit agencies lack, rather than the existing curb-to-curb transit service. Previous research suggests that the elderly population have an increasing need for healthcare and visits to doctor’s offices as they age. However, without consistent, reliable and affordable transportation services, they are relegated to depending on friends/family for rides or missing their medical appointments altogether. Until recently, health-specific data at the geographical level smaller than the city was hard to obtain for research within the social sciences. Utilizing the data from the 500 Cities project, we conducted a census tract level analysis in Michigan to investigate the relationship between transit services for the elderly and preventative healthcare attainment. The results indicate that the provision of transit services specifically for the elderly has significant effects on the attainment of preventive healthcare services. The study also suggests that socio-demographic factors have significantly contributed to health outcomes for the elderly.

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