Understanding accessibility through public transport users' experiences: A mixed methods approach
place - urban, place - south america, mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, ridership - perceptions, planning - methods, planning - surveys
Transport accessibility, Mixed methods, Indicators, Barriers, Santiago de Chile
The quantitative measurement of accessibility through public transport has become more complex and accurate over time. However, it lacks many of the deeper nuances of how people actually experience their travel environments. Our previous works have highlighted the importance of incorporating the lived travel experiences of passengers within accessibility indicators, considering the quality of the walking environment and different attributes of the public transport services.
Building on these works, this mixed-method research seeks to further improve the characterization of accessibility according to users' travel experiences, as described by those attributes that inhibit or enhance access to opportunities within the city. We use content analysis of focus groups, data gathered in a brief survey and sociodemographic and public transport data for our analyses. Our main contributions are (i) to develop a conceptual framework to analyze qualitative data on how people relate and discuss their public transport accessibility experiences and (ii) to develop accessibility indicators differentiating user perceptions. We apply this novel conceptual framework and methods to the unique urban morphology of two municipalities of Santiago de Chile.
We identified different ‘socially constructed’ narratives for buses and metro. The participants focused on barriers to accessibility, showing an important relationship between them, as well as substantial differences in their overarching positive perception of metro and negative for buses. However, when disaggregating the analysis by primary transport mode and location, we found ‘hidden’ values for buses, recognizing its capillarity and underlying connectivity with the metro system. Furthermore, we found a dissimilar perception of transport environments when disaggregating the analysis by gender, age and location, which translated into different accessibility profiles for the various public transport users. From these experiential qualitative perspectives, it was thus possible to determine some attributes that had been previously overlooked in more quantitative studies but which are important when analyzing public transport accessibility for different population groups.
Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.
Tiznado-Aitken, I., Lucas, K., Muñoz, J.C., & Hurtubia, R. (2020). Understanding accessibility through public transport users' experiences: A mixed methods approach. Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 88, 102857.
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