Mobility-impaired people’s preferences for a specialized paratransit service as BRT’s feeder: The role of autonomy, relatedness, and competence

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus rapid transit, mode - paratransit, mode - bus, mode - other, planning - surveys, policy - disability, ridership - disadvantage, ridership - modelling, ridership - perceptions


Self-determination theory, Autonomy, Hybrid discrete choice model, Mobility-impaired people, Transportation feeder services


Transportation is a very important element in the well-being of mobility-impaired people. However, people with disabilities often struggle to access transportation services at all, especially if they live in mountain areas. This study is aimed at better understanding the main factors that affect the preferences for a new specialized paratransit service as BRT’s feeder to serve the portion of the trip that mobility-impaired people cannot manage. We hypothesized that in addition to some observable attributes of the transportation services, such as time and travel cost, mobility-impaired people’s preferences for a specialized paratransit service as BRT’s feeder could be better explained by using a hybrid discrete choice model based on the Self-Determination Theory (SDT). We gathered responses through a stated-preference survey (N = 350), in which respondents faced a series of choice situations among three BRT feeder alternatives: bus, cable car and a new specialized service. We also obtained indicator ratings through a basic psychological needs satisfaction scale to identify the latent variables in relation to the SDT. Modeling results supported our hypothesis that the preferences of mobility-impaired people are better explained by considering the three innate psychological needs. We found empirical evidence linking the components of the SDT, i.e. Autonomy, Relatedness, and Competence, with preferences for the specialized transportation service as BRT’s feeder in the study context. The multipliers of values of time savings derived from the model showed that mobility-impaired people place access time four times more important than travel time. We accounted for the heterogeneity in value of travel time savings and found that the greater the autonomy in mobility-impaired people the greater their sensitivity to the specialized transportation service’s fare. We concluded that Autonomy, Relatedness, and Competence play an important role in the preferences of mobility-impaired people. Autonomy is a determining factor in perception of alternative fares. Competence motivates mobility-impaired people to use the specialized paratransit service as BRT’s feeder, while Relatedness motivates mobility-impaired people to use the same transportation alternatives used by others.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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