Medical-purposed travel behaviors in rural areas in developing countries: a case study in rural Cambodia

  • Rika IdeiEmail author
  • Hironori Kato


This study aimed at identifying influencing factors in an individual’s choice of health service facility and transportation mode to the facility, using two datasets: one collected through face-to-face interviews held between February and March 2016, containing responses from 258 local residents, and the other collected from 45 residents in the follow-up survey in December 2016. The study area was located in rural Cambodia, where road conditions were recently improved and a health sector policy was implemented to assist poor people in accessing to health services. An empirical analysis was carried out using nested logit models, consisting of two choices of three travel modes (private, shared, or walking) and two types of public health service facilities (health center or referral hospital). The results revealed the following: (1) individuals in households with motorcycles tend to visit health service facilities using private travel modes, whereas individuals in households without their own transportation tend to visit health service facilities using shared travel modes or on foot, and (2) travel distance between individuals’ houses and the selected facilities likely discourages people from visiting referral hospitals, where a variety of health services are available, but does not affect the choice of health centers, offering limited health services while being located closer to residential areas. These findings suggested the need to equip health centers with more functions as health service providers and to operationalize public transportation services for those who cannot afford to visit referral hospitals, which would enable people to receive necessary health services more conveniently.


Access to health services Cambodia Public health Rural areas Transportation 



The Ministry of Rural Development, Kingdom of Cambodia, implemented the survey in February/March 2016, with the support of the Asian Development Bank. We would like to sincerely thank them for providing us access to their survey data. Our acknowledgments extended to the interviewees who attended our follow-up survey.


This study was supported by Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd., Kobayashi Fund, mainly for conducting the follow-up survey, including details of public health service facilities along the study roads (Grant No. 196).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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