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The effect of the pandemic on the mobility of persons with disabilities

König, Alexandra and Hatzakis, Tally and Alčiauskaitė, Laura and Petersen, Malte (2024) The effect of the pandemic on the mobility of persons with disabilities. Transport Research Arena (TRA), 2024-04-15 - 2024-04-18, Dublin, Ireland.

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a considerable number of empirical studies examined the effect of the pandemic on the mobility of people in general. It is reasonable to argue that persons with disabilities experienced drastic consequences in their daily mobility. However, little is known about the impact of the pandemic on the travelling habits of persons with disabilities. The paper focuses on the research question: “How people with disabilities assessed the effects of the pandemic on their mobility behaviour”. To this end, an online survey addressed the needs of people with disabilities for accessible transport. The survey was conducted within the scope of the European research project TRIPS (trips-project.eu), and comprised data of 745 people with disabilities from 21 European countries at two point in time: winter of 2020/2021 and summer 2022. Survey respondents were asked whether the pandemic affected their mobility behaviour in terms of six facets: 1) making them less willing to travel, 2) making their journeys more difficult, 3) making journeys less nice, 4) making journeys more dependent on others, 5) making journeys longer and 6) making them feel unsafe. Findings suggest that respondents assessed the impacts of the pandemic on their travel behaviour to be strong overall. Nearly 60% of the respondents strongly agreed with the statement that the pandemic made them less willing to travel. Almost half of the respondents stated that the pandemic made their journeys more difficult, less safe and less nice. By comparison the effect of the pandemic on users’ mobility behaviour was greater in winter 2020/2021 than in summer 2022. People were significantly less willing to travel in winter 2020/2021 compared to summer 2022. No differences were found between the two points in time with regards to other facets. It was shown that especially persons with mental health problems or intellectual disabilities experienced their journeys as more difficult than before. In contrast, persons with visual and hearing impairments experienced less barriers compared to other groups because of the pandemic. With regard to gender effects, it was shown that female respondents tend to feel less safe, more dependent on others and less willing to travel compared to men. The results highlight the drastic effect of the pandemic on the mobility of people with disabilities. Interestingly, the analysis revealed only small differences between the assessment of mobility changes when comparing the data from the early beginning of the pandemic and the later phase. A possible explanation is that persons with disabilities feel severely affected by the pandemic in the long term. It was further shown, that especially female gender as linked to the perception of stronger effects of the pandemic on their mobility behaviour. Finally, insights from the survey inform our suggestions for addressing social inclusion and equity issues in transport planning and policy.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/204129/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:The effect of the pandemic on the mobility of persons with disabilities
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
König, AlexandraUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6332-3817UNSPECIFIED
Petersen, MalteUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0009-0003-6352-6333UNSPECIFIED
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:inclusive design; disability research, COVID-19 pandemic
Event Title:Transport Research Arena (TRA)
Event Location:Dublin, Ireland
Event Type:international Conference
Event Start Date:15 April 2024
Event End Date:18 April 2024
Organizer:Transportation Research Board
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: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Transportation Systems > Design and Evaluation of Mobility Solutions, BS
Deposited By: König, Alexandra
Deposited On:17 May 2024 14:19
Last Modified:17 May 2024 14:19

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