DOI: 10.3390/geomatics3040031 ISSN: 2673-7418

“How Far Is the Closest Bus Stop?” An Evaluation of Self-Reported versus GIS-Computed Distance to the Bus among Older People and Factors Influencing Their Perception of Distance

Francesco Balducci, Agneta Ståhl, Ola Svensson, Benny Jonsson, Yngve Westerlund, Jacopo Dolcini, Carlos Chiatti
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Business and International Management

Previous research showed that living closer to bus stops could be a factor in promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. However, most of the studies relied on self-reported measures of distance, which might be affected by several confounders. In this study, self-reported distances among study participants were compared to actual ones, computed by the use of GIS (Geographic Information System) technology and routing algorithms. We tested whether distance to the bus stop is associated with health and socioeconomic conditions of the respondents, using data among 2398 older people (75–90 years) in three cities in Sweden. We found that several variables including older age, female gender, living alone, and worse health status are associated with an over-estimation of bus stop distance. People who use public transport daily or several times a week and are satisfied with the walking environment in the neighbourhood tend to underestimate bus stop distances. Evidence based on self-reported measures only should be treated cautiously. Considering the limitations still present in open-data-based routing algorithms, the best indication is to combine the subjective with the objective measure of distance. Having the possibility to combine the two measures appears as a sound strategy to overcome the limitations associated with each single measure.

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