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How to involve special needs groups in mobility research? A review of participatory methods concerning their contribution to accessibility, social inclusion and wellbeing

Marquart, Heike and Stark, Kerstin and Altmann, Carolin Susann and Khoi, Ngo Manh (2023) How to involve special needs groups in mobility research? A review of participatory methods concerning their contribution to accessibility, social inclusion and wellbeing. European Transport Conference (ETC) 2023, 2023-09-06 - 2023-09-08, Mailand, Italien.

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Mobility research should include the needs and abilities of all travelers. However, it is often difficult to involve all people, because certain population groups are hard to reach by traditional sampling techniques, or, even though willing to participate, they can be difficult to interview (Tourengeou 2014). This may lead to the so called “Matthäus-effect” in transport research, where only those with high economic, educational or social resources raise their voice (Gebhardt and König 2019). To successfully involve people with special mobility needs, this study systematically reviews mobility research articles focusing on the participation of children, the elderly, and marginalized groups (e.g. people with mobility impairment or other constraints). These groups are not easily involved in mobility research. First, the study explores the methods applied in the reviewed articles. Second, it identifies and critically discusses to what extent and how accessibility, social inclusion and travel-related wellbeing of the involved groups are assessed and improved by applying certain methods. We proceeded as follows. First, a systematic literature review was conducted to investigate the methods applied to participate children, elderly and marginalized groups in mobility research. In total, 60 articles were selected. Studies were selected if they clearly have children, elderly or marginalized groups participating, if they include a thorough description of a method (being participatory or mixed-method) and if they address mobility-related research questions. Based on these studies, a method-toolbox was developed to review advantages and disadvantages of using certain methods for involving certain groups. Second, out of the reviewed literature three to five studies per group were selected based on their comprehensiveness of the study design and discussion of results. They were investigated in-depth according to the added-value of their methods for improving accessibility, social inclusion and travel-related wellbeing. The reviewed studies apply a variety of methods. Most prominent were traditional qualitative methods such as interviews or focus groups, often combined with photovoice and mapping (e.g. sketch maps, community mapping). The latter was found to be beneficial for involving children. The same held for photovoice, which also seemed to be useful to involve people with mobility impairment to gather their mobility experiences. Travel diaries, surveys and GPS-tracking were used as well. Several times methods such as walking interviews or accelerometer were used. Some studies specifically addressed participants as peer-researchers, who could choose methods and gather data themselves. Other studies applied prototyping (e.g. user-centered design), e.g. when developing mobility apps for the elderly. Most of the studies which were investigated in-depths focused on improving travel-related wellbeing. The aim of the methods applied in the literature was mostly to provide evidence of obstacles that the participants face during travel or gather insights into their mobility experiences and satisfaction of travel. Social inclusion was less often addressed. However, studies which involved people as peer-researchers often included events to present the results to decision-makers, which may improve social inclusion. Some studies showed that certain methods, e.g. photovoice, increases the visibility of special mobility needs in the public debate. The contribution of the methods to improve accessibility is less often addressed. With this article we want to further discuss how mobility research can take groups with special mobility needs stronger into consideration and specifically investigate beneficial methods with which hard-to-involve groups with special mobility needs can be addressed. According research should not be just an end in itself, but aim at choosing methods with which needs such as accessibility, social inclusion and travel-related wellbeing can be enhanced.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/202512/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:How to involve special needs groups in mobility research? A review of participatory methods concerning their contribution to accessibility, social inclusion and wellbeing
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Stark, KerstinUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1129-9015UNSPECIFIED
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:participatory, methods, children, eldery, mobility needs, equity
Event Title:European Transport Conference (ETC) 2023
Event Location:Mailand, Italien
Event Type:international Conference
Event Start Date:6 September 2023
Event End Date:8 September 2023
Organizer:Association For European Transport (AET)
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:Transport System
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V VS - Verkehrssystem
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - VMo4Orte - Vernetzte Mobilität für lebenswerte Orte
Location: Berlin-Adlershof , Jena
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Transport Research > Spaces in Mobility and Transport Systems
Institute of Transport Research > Transport Markets and Mobility Services
Institute of Data Science > Data Acquisition and Mobilisation
Deposited By: Marquart, Heike
Deposited On:31 Jan 2024 10:53
Last Modified:24 Apr 2024 21:02

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