Social Exclusion and the Disabled: An Accessibility Approach


  • *The author thanks the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC) for providing the one-day travel diary used in this research via Dr. Daniel Hess (Planning Dept. University at Buffalo). Thanks also to Bert Yagrich for conducting preliminary work in the topic, to Dr. Jean-Claude Thill and Dr. Jaques Poot for their comments on an initial manuscript, to Ryan Hochworter for compiling the opportunity databases, and to the reviewers, editor, and associate editor of The Professional Geographer for their suggestions and comments on the manuscript.


Understanding social dimensions (e.g., transport equity) is an important aspect of sustainable development. This holistic perspective allows the use of accessibility as a tool to identify disadvantaged groups. In this article, cumulative accessibility measures are calculated for a sample of individuals who participated in a one-day travel diary survey for the Buffalo-Niagara region in the state of New York. These measures, which include the number of opportunities available in an individual's activity space, are used to compare the levels of access between disabled and nondisabled groups and to determine if individuals' disabilities and other characteristics are contributing factors to their exclusion. Findings show that being young, coming from a small household, possessing a driver's license, having a steady job, living in an urban setting, and being willing to travel a long distance increase the number of opportunities available.