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Perceived Accessibility of Public Transport as a Potential Indicator of Social Inclusion
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Service Research Center. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies. (Samot)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5398-6633
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Service Research Center. (Samot)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7475-680X
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Service Research Center. (Samot)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6570-6181
2016 (English)In: Social Inclusion, ISSN 2183-2803, Vol. 4, no 3, 36-45 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Perceived accessibility has been acknowledged as an important aspect of transport policy since the 70s. Nevertheless, very few empirical studies have been conducted in this field. When aiming to improve social inclusion, by making sus-tainable transport modes accessible to all, it is important to understand the factors driving perceived accessibility. Un-like conventional accessibility measures, perceived accessibility focuses on the perceived possibilities and ease of en-gaging in preferred activities using different transport modes. We define perceived accessibility in terms of how easy it is to live a satisfactory life with the help of the transport system, which is not necessarily the same thing as the objec-tive standard of the system. According to previous research, perceived accessibility varies with the subjectively-rated quality of the mode of transport. Thus, improvements in quality (e.g. trip planning, comfort, or safety) increase the per-ceived accessibility and make life easier to live using the chosen mode of transport. This study (n=750) focuses on the perceived accessibility of public transport, captured using the Perceived Accessibility Scale PAC (Lättman, Olsson, & Fri-man, 2015). More specifically, this study aims to determine how level of quality affects the perceived accessibility in public transport. A Conditional Process Model shows that, in addition to quality, feeling safe and frequency of travel are important predictors of perceived accessibility. Furthermore, elderly and those in their thirties report a lower level of perceived accessibility to their day-to-day activities using public transport. The basic premise of this study is that sub-jective experiences may be as important as objective indicators when planning and designing for socially inclusive transport systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lisbon: Cogitatio , 2016. Vol. 4, no 3, 36-45 p.
Keyword [en]
perceived accessibility, public transport, social exclusion, social inclusion, subjective well-being, transport planning
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-42572DOI: 10.17645/si.v4i3.481ISI: 000383363400004OAI: diva2:931326
VINNOVA, 2014-05335
Available from: 2016-05-27 Created: 2016-05-27 Last updated: 2016-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Perceived Accessibility: Capturing the Traveller Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perceived Accessibility: Capturing the Traveller Perspective
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this thesis is introducing and proposing perceived accessibility as an important and so far overseen complement to conventional, objective accessibility in sustainable transport. Perceived accessibility is defined as the possibilities and ease of engaging in preferred activities using different transport modes. Implications for sustainable transport planning along with possible social outcomes related to perceived accessibility are also discussed.


The thesis comprises two empirical studies. In Study I a psychometric measure (PAC) that captures perceived accessibility was developed and validated in three different datasets by exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. All data was collected in Karlstad, Sweden in 2013 and 2014 with a total of 750 participants (bus travelers). Perceived accessibility is suggested as a complement to objective accessibility by contributing with the traveler perspective.  Study II aimed at examining determinants of perceived accessibility focusing on service quality aspects, feelings of safety, age, and trip frequency. Study II used the same data as Study I in a conditional process model to look at the relations between perceived accessibility and its proposed determinants. Service quality and feelings of safety were found important predictors of perceived accessibility, and safety also explains part of the effect of quality on perceived accessibility. These relationships were not dependent on trip frequency (as in how often one travels by public transport). Age also predicted perceived accessibility, and a follow-up cluster analysis showed that elderly and people in their thirties experience significantly lower perceived accessibility than other age groups.

Abstract [sv]

Denna licentiatuppsats behandlar upplevd tillgänglighet, det vill säga resenärsperspektivet på tillgänglighet, som ett viktigt komplement till konventionell (objektiv) tillgänglighet inom hållbart resande. Uppsatsen introducerar upplevd tillgänglighet och dess nytta och plats i forskningen samt implikationer för planering och utvärdering av hållbara transporter. Vidare behandlas påverkansfaktorer för upplevd tillgänglighet samt relaterade individuella utfall som subjektivt välbefinnande och social exkludering/inkludering utifrån teori och empiri.


Uppsatsen innefattar två empiriska studier. Studie I utvecklar och testar ett psykometriskt mätinstrument för upplevd tillgänglighet med data från tre enkät-tillfällen (n= 750) i Karlstad. Dataset 1 analyserades med explorativ faktoranalys för att få fram ett instrument som fångar upplevd tillgänglighet (PAC) och validerades därefter i två dataset. Studie II avsåg att undersöka vad som bidrar till upplevd tillgänglighet med fokus på kvalitetsattribut i resan (service quality), resenärens upplevda trygghet, samt ålder och resvana. Samma data som i studie I användes i en conditional process model för att undersöka sambanden, samt i en klusteranalys för att ytterligare undersöka skillnader i resultatet mellan olika grupper av resenärer. Resultatet visar att upplevd tillgänglighet kan ha betydelse som komplement till befintliga mätningar och utvärderingar av tillgänglighet genom att bidra med resenärsperspektivet. Ett antal påverkansfaktorer för upplevd tillgänglighet kan konstateras, däribland kvalitet samt resenärens upplevda känsla av trygghet. Betydelsen av kvalitet för tillgänglighet är densamma oavsett hur ofta man reser, däremot upplever de som reser ofta en signifikant högre tillgänglighet än de som reser sällan. Äldre resenärer och resenärer i 30-årsåldern påvisar signifikant lägre upplevd tillgänglighet.

Abstract [en]

This thesis proposes perceived accessibility as a complement to conventional accessibility in sustainable transport planning and evaluation. Perceived accessibility is defined as the possibilities and ease of engaging in preferred activities using different transport modes and captures the traveller experience and perspective of accessibility. The thesis introduces an instrument for measuring perceived accessibility (PAC) along with determinants for perceived accessibility, such as feelings of safety, age, and perceived quality. Related social outcomes such as social inclusion and subjective well-being are discussed, along with possible implications for transport planning and suggestions for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2016. 34 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2016:33
perceived accessibility, accessibility scale, transport planning, public transport, social inclusion, social exclusion
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-42995 (URN)978-91-7063-714-8 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
2016-09-08, Karlstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-08-26 Created: 2016-06-15 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved

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Lättman, KatrinFriman, MargaretaOlsson, Lars E
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