Urban-rural health inequalities are linked to socioeconomic disadvantage and inequitable access to health services. In most empirical rural health research, transport availability is not considered an integral component of access for the non-metropolitan elderly population. This study examined the proportion of people aged over 65 years in the Loddon Mallee Region (LMR) of Victoria who had access to public transport according to census collection districts (COs). Using Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census data, COs were mapped and identified as having access to public transport if a bus or train stop was situated within the CD boundaries. COs were classified according to the Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) to determine whether there was a relationship between ARIA rating and access to public transport services. The results indicate that approximately 50% of people over 65 years do not have access to public transport. The people living in a CD with a more remote ARIA classification were less likely to have access to public transport. These results have implications for transport policy especially given the predictions of ageing rural population growth.
Road and Transport Research: a journal of Australian and New Zealand research and practice Vol. 14, Issue 1, p. 38 - 43