Improving travel demand modelling for seniors by using administrative health care data

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University of New Brunswick


Understanding travel mobility of rural older adults (aged 65+) is essential to adequately plan for their future travel demands and needs given that driving one’s own vehicle may be difficult or impossible for many in the long term. Historically, Canadian data sets have not been able to provide detailed information regarding travel behaviour beyond “Journey to Work”, yet for some older adults, finding transportation to healthcare remains a major challenge. The literature identifies a need for understanding travel burden for healthcare related travel and measuring inequalities related to geographic location as there is currently no standard approach for defining and measuring travel impacts. The measure of travel impacts is complicated by a lack of data to conduct analyses. Administrative health data has considerable potential to permit the estimation of health travel demand, but its use for this purpose in Canada has not been widespread. This research presents a novel methodology to analyze and use administrative health data from the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT) for transportation planning purposes. Datasets from the NB-IRDT were analyzed with statistical and spatial analysis tools to estimate the travel demands and distances of rural older adults associated with accessing health care facilities within New Brunswick. Data were organized in cross-classification tables and explored through regression models and the gravity model.