Introduction: Despite the plethora of research devoted to analyzing the impact of disability on travel behavior, not enough studies have investigated the varying impact of social and environmental factors on the mode choice of people with disabilities that restrict their ability to use transportation modes efficiently. This research gap can be addressed by investigating the factors influencing the mode choice behavior of people with travel-limiting disabilities, which can inform the development of accessible and sustainable transportation systems. Additionally, such studies can provide insights into the social and economic barriers faced by this population group, which can help policymakers to promote social inclusion and equity.
Method: This study utilized a Random Parameters Logit model to identify the individual, trip, and environmental factors that influence mode selection among people with travel-limiting disabilities. Using the 2017 National Household Travel Survey data for New York State, which included information on respondents with travel-limiting disabilities, the analysis focused on a sample of 8,016 people. In addition, climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were integrated as additional explanatory variables in the modeling process.
Results: The results revealed that people with disabilities may be inclined to travel longer distances walking in the absence of suitable accommodation facilities for other transportation modes. Furthermore, people were less inclined to walk during summer and winter, indicating a need to consider weather conditions as a significant determinant of mode choice. Moreover, low-income people with disabilities were more likely to rely on public transport or walking.
Conclusion: Based on this study’s findings, transportation agencies could design infrastructure and plan for future expansions that is more inclusive and accessible, thus catering to the mobility needs of people with travel-limiting disabilities.