Community participation and public transportation barriers experienced by people with disabilities

Jill Louise Bezyak, Scott Sabella, Joy Hammel, Katherine McDonald, Robin Ann Jones, Dana Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Background: Barriers to public transportation quickly impact the ability of people with disabilities to fully experience their community. Objective: A national survey of people with disabilities was conducted to understand the barriers and supports to accessing public transportation and the impact on community participation. Method: A total of 1748 respondents responded to a web-based survey investigating the accessibility of public transportation. Results present frequency of barriers to public transportation and group differences using Pearson’s chi-square technique and Mann–Whitney U tests. Results: A majority of respondents experienced difficulties accessing public transportation, and community activities that do not occur on a regular schedule are more affected by problems with public transportation. Individuals with blindness or low vision, psychiatric disabilities, chronic health conditions, or multiple disabilities experienced more problems using public transportation for community participation, along with participants who were female, Hispanic, Latino/Latina, or Spanish origin. Limitations: Survey distribution was convenience-based, which may have affected participation of certain disability groups, cultural groups, and/or those without computer access, and interpretations cannot be made regarding predictive or casual relationships. Conclusions: Significant challenges face individuals with disabilities as they use public transportation, and certain disability groups are more severely impacted by these problems.Implications for Rehabilitation Certain disability groups experience more severe problems with public transportation, as compared to other groups. Public policy advocacy and actions related to public transportation must prioritise individuals with disabilities who experience significantly more problems. Problems using public transportation for spontaneous activities pose increased problems for individuals with disabilities, and steps (i.e., extended hours or alternative transportation options) must be taken to overcome this barrier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3275-3283
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 5 2020


  • Public transportation
  • accessibility
  • barriers
  • community participation
  • disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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