Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

SURTC Publishes Findings from Survey of People with Disabilities

Mobility is fundamental for people to live full and satisfying lives in their communities. For adults with disabilities, access to community transportation is often limited. To address issues of mobility for people with disabilities in North Dakota, SURTC recently completed a study titled "Assessing Existing and Needed Community Transportation for People with Disabilities in North Dakota." This study developed and administered a survey to a sample of people with disabilities in the state. The survey instrument was developed in such a way that it could be used by communities and states beyond North Dakota for collecting similar information and could be used over time to assess progress in providing transportation for adults with disabilities.

Responses were received from 131 people in the state, including those with physical, sensory, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. A large percentage of the respondents were transit-dependent or dependent on others for rides. The survey collected information from individuals regarding their travel behavior, ability to make needed or desired trips, use of community transportation options (public transit, human service agencies, other), unmet needs, and difficulties encountered.

The results indicated that a significant percentage of respondents desire more trips than they are currently taking, and lack of transportation appears to be the main limiting factor. Unmet demand was greatest for leisure, recreation, and social trips, as about two-thirds of respondents said they desired more of these types of trips. The survey also revealed significant dissatisfaction with available transportation options, both in the community and for long-distance trips. The most significant concerns with public transportation regarded service availability. Other service factors that respondents were dissatisfied with include waiting time, scheduling procedures, and ride reservation time. Respondents were most satisfied with being safe from both crime and accidents and were generally satisfied with drivers, vehicle comfort, and access to information.

The study also examined how often individuals make trips, specific problems they have with using fixed-route or paratransit service, use of travel training, and use or door-to-door or door-through-door service, and it compares results from a similar survey conducted nearly a decade ago.

Questions related to the research should be directed to Jeremy Mattson (

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