Ageing and mobility in car-dependent societies: Gender differences and shifts in mode

King, Mark J. & Scott-Parker, Bridie (2016) Ageing and mobility in car-dependent societies: Gender differences and shifts in mode. In International Federation on Ageing 13th Global Conference, 21-23 June 2016, Brisbane, Qld. (Unpublished)


In societies that are highly car-dependent and have low household size, population ageing presents a challenge to the continued transport mobility of older people with a driving licence, and hence their health and social connectedness. Older drivers form a group which is growing in size and changing its gender composition. The impact of licence loss has been studied previously, and programs exist that aim to ease the transition from driving to non-driving. However, there is little research on how older drivers divide their physical travel between modes, and how this varies by age and gender. In particular it is unclear whether declines in driving are compensated by increases in other modes of transport. A survey in Queensland, Australia, of 295 older drivers (>60 years) was undertaken to address these issues. Across gender and three age groups (61-65 years, 66-70 years, and at least 71 years), time spent driving was reported to be considerably greater than time spent as a passenger or walking. Drivers reduced their driving with age in terms of time spent travelling, and this increase was not redressed by increased travel as a passenger or pedestrian. The patterns differed by gender, reflecting demographic and social factors including lower male life expectancy, the tendency for males in couples to be older than females, and sex role preference for males to drive. Women are therefore more likely to drive alone with increasing age; at the same time, they report a preference not to drive alone, making this a socially significant issue. Walking levels across age and gender were quite low compared with health advice on desirable levels of walking. The combination of a car-dependent setting, increasing propensity to retain a licence with age, and low use of other modes of travel implies a need to prolong driving by older drivers, which further implies a need to ensure that the driving environment facilitates safe driving by older drivers. This can be achieved through road infrastructure, vehicles and behavioural approaches that make it possible for older people to continue driving safely for longer. However, this interpretation of the data relies on a concept of “mobility” that involves physical movement across the transport system. Among future cohorts of drivers it is possible that a form of “virtual mobility” may be more important. Future research and programs need to take account of these trends and possibilities.

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ID Code: 96329
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Reports King and Scott-Parker (2016) Ageing and Society article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Ageing, Mobility, Driving, Walking
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (160400) > Social and Cultural Geography (160403)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 23 Jun 2016 22:34
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 14:45

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