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Multimodal Accessibility to Primary Health Services for the Elderly: A Case Study of Naples, Italy

Carpentieri, Gerardo; Guida, Carmen; Masoumi, Houshmand E.

In Europe, the share of people aged 65 years and above is expected to increase exponentially, and in 2050, for the first time in human history, the number of older people will be larger than the number of children under the age of 15. Aging is associated with increased vulnerability and dependence on medical care services. For these reasons, providing access to health services to people aged 65 years and over is crucial. From the perspective of social equity, everyone should have the opportunity to access healthcare services equally, but due to economic and geographical issues, achieving this level of equity is challenging. The aim of this study was to fill the gap between scientific and actual practices using an accessibility measure to evaluate urban accessibility to primary healthcare services and to support decision-makers to better allocate resources in local restructuring of welfare policies. The accessibility measure was designed considering both the land use and the transportation components, the local healthcare supply system, and a multimodal transportation network. The methodology was applied to the city of Naples considering Local Health Agency (ASL) healthcare services to the elderly. The ASL is the largest health agency in Europe, consisting of 17 buildings serving nearly 200,000 elderly. The results show that the entire elderly neighborhood population suffers from poor accessibility to primary health services, especially in the city suburbs, and that the methodology could be effectively applied to urban planning strategies to achieve a high quality of life for elderly people. Due to poor dialogue between the authorities, this could help to improve the decision-making process through the lens of social equity.
Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su12030781, MDPI