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Older People’s Mobility, New Transport Technologies and User-Centred Innovation: Challenges, Solutions and Collaborations

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Abstract

People are fitter and more mobile than ever before, but transport can still be an issue in later life due to physiological and cognitive challenges. This chapter examines findings from four focus groups with 36 older people examining the importance of mobility and future changes in mobility and transport. Older people were generally sceptical of potential transport futures, though they welcome technologies that reduce physical difficulty in mobility, gave real-time information, and reduced issues with interchange. There were mixed feelings of automated vehicles, often dependent upon the individual’s willingness to accept technology taking over their own skills and abilities, trust in the technology and concerns over future built environments.

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... Multiple studies agree on the fact that older adults in particular are vulnerable to digitalisation in transport services, providing three main interlinked reasons. First, they are more at risk of being transport disadvantaged, especially for those who are no longer able to drive, as staying active in later life is linked to quality of life (Musselwhite, 2019;Pangbourne, Aditjandra, & Nelson, 2010). Older women who used to be driven by their husband and people who stopped driving are particularly at risk of having their mobility needs unmet (Bertolaccini & Hickman, 2019;Shirgaokar, 2018). ...
... Fears of data misuse with internet banking, scams, identity theft, phishing and fraud can dissuade people from paying online for their transport subscription or for a ride (Harvey et al., 2019;Pangbourne, 2018). This is particularly the case for older adults and people with lower incomes (Musselwhite, 2019;Shirgaokar, 2018). In general, people need to feel safe and in control, which is perceived to go against a heavy reliance on technology (Pangbourne et al., 2010;Shirgaokar, 2018). ...
... Furthermore, while digital technologies may be helping staff to better assist travellers, literature notes that these technologies are also substituting for employees. This is a cause for concern among groups that feel vulnerable (Musselwhite, 2019), particularly when it comes to responding to irregularities or last-minute changes (Bigby et al., 2019). A station kiosk can be an alternative to staff and still relatively low-tech; however, it may still present challenges for those who have little experience with computers and smartphones (Kamga, Yazıcı, & Singhal, 2013). ...
Article
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Digitalisation in transport services offers many benefits for travellers. However, not everyone is willing or able to follow the new, more or less formal requirements digitalisation has brought along. Existing reviews on the intersection between Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and mobility cover a range of vantage points, but the perspective of how various levels of engagement with digital technologies affect access and navigation of transport services has not been addressed yet. In communication science, studying disparities in terms of ICT appropriation and their consequences is known as digital inequality research. This review paper aims at shedding light on what digital inequality in the context of transport services consists of and what its consequences are. To do so, we define and use a conceptual framework for the analysis of digital inequality in transport services. The review of the twenty-five papers, as selected in our systematic literature search, shows that there is a burgeoning interest in this topic. Vulnerability to digitalisation in transport services exists along dimensions of age, income, education, ethnicity, gender and geographical region. We find that motivations and material access get more attention than digital skills and effective usage. Nevertheless, literature acknowledges that having material access to technology does not mean that people benefit from what technology has to offer. Furthermore, the characteristics of ICTs impact one’s possibilities to access digital technologies, such as how user-friendly a technology is. Data-driven and algorithm-based decision-making present a particularly pernicious form of digital exclusion from transport services. As digital technologies are progressively becoming indispensable to navigate the world of transport services, low levels of digital engagement may create a new layer of transport disadvantage, possibly on top of existing ones. Although digitalisation can be part of the solution to transport disadvantage, it can also be part of the problem. With network effects at play, what might start as a relative disadvantage may turn into an absolute disadvantage. Given the nascent state of research on digital inequality in transport services, much remains to be understood. Suggested research avenues include mechanisms of digital exclusion from transport services, the contribution of digital inequality to transport disadvantage, and importantly, solutions to mitigate its impacts.
... It is estimated that older adults will have the greatest increase in annual vehicle miles traveled with the use of AVs compared to younger population (Harper, Hendrickson, Mangones, & Samaras, 2016). However, some older adults are more concerned particularly in relation to technology failure and giving-up control (especially those that are currently driving, Musselwhite, 2019) and less favorable towards AVs than younger people (Hudson, Orviska, & Hunady, 2019;Hulse, Xie, & Galea, 2018). Musselwhite (2019) found that older adults who gave up driving were more positive about AVs and stressed the importance of maintaining their mobility and connectivity with others and leisure activities. ...
... However, some older adults are more concerned particularly in relation to technology failure and giving-up control (especially those that are currently driving, Musselwhite, 2019) and less favorable towards AVs than younger people (Hudson, Orviska, & Hunady, 2019;Hulse, Xie, & Galea, 2018). Musselwhite (2019) found that older adults who gave up driving were more positive about AVs and stressed the importance of maintaining their mobility and connectivity with others and leisure activities. Thus, other studies failed to identify age effects on engagement with Level 4 AV technology (Molnar et al., 2018). ...
Article
The design of the traditional vehicle human-machine interfaces (HMIs) is undergoing major change as we move towards fully connected and automated vehicles (CAVs). Given the diversity of user requirements and preferences, it is vital for designers to gain a deeper understanding of any underlying factors that could impact usability. The current study employs a range of carefully selected psychological measures to investigate the relationship with self-report usability of an in-CAV HMI integrated into a fully automated Level 5 simulator, during simulated journeys. Twenty-five older adults (65-years+) participated and were exposed to four journeys in a virtual reality fully automated CAV simulator (with video recorded journeys) into which our HMI was integrated. Participants completed a range of scales and questionnaires, as well as computerized cognitive tests. Key measures were: perceived usability of the HMI, cognitive performance, personality, attitudes towards computers, trust in technology, simulator sickness, presence and emotion. HMI perceived usability correlated positively with cognitive performance (e.g., working memory) and some individual characteristics such as trust in technology and negatively with neuroticism anxiety. Simulator sickness was associated negatively with CAV HMI perceived usability. Positive emotions correlated positively with reported usability across all four journeys, while negative emotions were negatively associated with usability only in the case of the last two journeys. Increased sense of presence in the virtual CAV simulator was not associated with usability. Implications for design are critically discussed. Our research is highly relevant in the design of high-fully automated vehicle HMIs, particularly for older adults, and in informing policy-makers and automated mobility providers of how to improve older people’s uptake of this technology.
... The final paper of this special issue is by Kadylack & Cotten (2021) who explore the willingness to use automated vehicles (AVs) or self-driving vehicles by older adults living in the USA. Older people often have to give up driving, limiting their mobility and as such automated vehicles offer much promise (Musselwhite, 2019). Quantitative findings from a sample of 1231 people identified adults with higher levels of education, transport limitations and displaying positive attitudes towards technology adoption were more inclined to use AVs. ...
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The Aging and Technology special issue showcases twelve papers spanning a range and diversity of international scholarly research within the field of ageing and technology. The collection of papers demonstrates the positive impact technology can have on the lives of older people including improving cognitive performance, physical and mental health and people’s daily activities and practices. There are still barriers to use, including psychological issues of motivation, attitudes, privacy and trust and social issues involving learning to use the technology. In conclusion, to help overcome these barriers, it is recommended that research and development of technology involves older people as co-developers working with stakeholders from different disciplines and backgrounds.
... Additionally, the changes in walking throughout normal and dual task performance occur more in the elderly [38]. This issue is especially important since transport can still be an issue in later life due to physiological and cognitive challenges, with older people being generally skeptical of potential future transport, although they are welcoming of the technologies that reduce physical difficulty in mobility, and provide real-time information [39]. ...
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Aging is a global phenomenon affecting numerous developed and developing countries. During this process, the functional state of the body, especially the cognitive state, declines. This research investigated the impact of virtual reality exercises on the cognitive status and dual-task performance in the elderly of Tabriz city, Iran. Forty men with a mean age of 71.5 were selected and assigned to either the experimental (n = 20) or control groups (n = 20). Both groups completed the Mini-Mental State Examination for cognitive status. The pre-test was performed through the Timed Up and Go test (TUG) along with a countdown of numbers. Then, the experimental group practiced virtual driving for six weeks, while the control group received no treatment. After the treatment, both groups completed the post-test. At each stage, the test was performed as a dual motor task as well. Data were analyzed using the paired t-test and the independent sample t-test to show the intra-group and inter-group differences, respectively. The results showed a significant improvement in the cognitive status and dual-task performance of the elderly men after the six-week training period, which was also significant compared to the control group. Virtual reality driving can be used to improve the cognitive status and dual task performance of elderly men.
... Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the number of studies on the mobility of older adults has been increasing in the recent years (Shergold et al., 2012;Musselwhite, 2019;Musselwhite and Haddad, 2010;Nordbakke, 2013;Guo et al., 2019). These studies have investigated the effect of a wide range of factors. ...
Article
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Understanding the “if” and “when” of autonomous vehicle (AV) adoption is of clear interest to car manufacturers in their positioning of business processes, but also to transportation planners and traffic engineers. In this paper, we examine the individual-level AV adoption and timing process, considering the psycho-social factors of driving control, mobility control, safety concerns, and tech-savviness. A ranked choice stated preference design is used to elicit responses from Austin area residents regarding AV adoption. Our results underscore the need to examine the adoption of technology through a psycho-social lens. In particular, technology developments and design should not be divorced from careful investigations of habits and consumption motivations of different groups of individuals in the population. The findings from our analysis are translated to specific policy actions to promote AV adoption and accelerate the adoption time frame.
Article
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This paper adds to the growing number of studies about mobility and wellbeing in later life. It proposes a broader understanding of mobility than movement through physical space. Drawing on the ‘mobility turn’ in the social sciences, we conceptualise mobility as the overcoming of any type of distance between a here and a there, which can be situated in physical, electronic, social, psychological or other kinds of space. Using qualitative data from 128 older people in County Durham, England, we suggest that mobility and wellbeing influence each other in many different ways. Our analysis extends previous research in various ways. First, it shows that mobility of the self – a mental disposition of openness and willingness to connect with the world – is a crucial driver of the relation between mobility and wellbeing. Second, while loss of mobility as physical movement can and often does affect older people's sense of wellbeing adversely, this is not necessarily so; other mobilities can at least to some extent compensate for the loss of mobility in physical space. Finally, wellbeing is also enhanced through mobility as movement in physical space because the latter enables independence or subjectively experienced autonomy, as well as inter-dependence in the sense of relatively equal and reciprocal social relations with other people.
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Driving cessation can lead to myriad negative consequences for older adults. The purpose of these analyses was to examine driving status as a predictor of mortality among community-dwelling older adults. This prospective cohort study included 660 community-dwelling adults ranging in age between 63 and 97 years. Between 2000 and 2004, participants completed performance-based assessments of vision, cognition, and physical abilities and indexes of health, depression, self-efficacy, and driving habits. Follow-up telephone interviews were completed approximately 3 years later. Among community-dwelling older adults, older age, health, poor near visual acuity, depressive symptoms, compromised cognitive status, and being a nondriver are associated with increased risk for a 3-year mortality. Nondrivers were four to six times more likely to die than drivers during the subsequent 3-year period. The ability to drive represents both a sign of cherished independence and underlying health and well-being for older adults. Retaining this ability is an important health concern in the United States.
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To understand the consequences of driving cessation in older adults, the authors evaluated depression in former drivers compared with active drivers. Depression (as assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale), driving status, sociodemographic factors, health status, and cognitive function were evaluated for a cohort of 1953 residents of Sonoma County, California, aged 55 years and older, as part of a community-based study of aging and physical performance. The authors re-interviewed 1772 participants who were active drivers at baseline 3 years later. At baseline, former drivers reported higher levels of depression than did active drivers even after the authors controlled for age, sex, education, health, and marital status. In a longitudinal analysis, drivers who stopped driving during the 3-year interval (i.e., former drivers) reported higher levels of depressive symptoms than did those who remained active drivers, after the authors controlled for changes in health status and cognitive function. Increased depression for former drivers was substantially higher in men than in women. With increasing age, many older adults reduce and then stop driving. Increased depression may be among the consequences associated with driving reduction or cessation.
Article
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The purpose of this article was to investigate the role of control beliefs in mediating the relationship between driving cessation and change in depressive symptoms in a population-based sample of older adults. We report results from a prospective, community-based cohort study that included two waves of data collected in 1992 and 1994. Participants consisted of 700 men and women aged 70 and older, including 647 drivers and 53 participants who ceased driving between baseline (1992) and follow-up (1994). Participants took part in interviews that included assessments of driving status, sociodemographic characteristics, self-rated health, sensory function, depressive symptoms (through the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale), and expectancy of control. Using multilevel general linear models, we examined the extent to which driving status, expectancy of control, and relevant covariates explained change in depressive-symptom scores between baseline and follow-up. Driving cessation was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms from baseline to follow-up. The higher depressive-symptom scores of ceased drivers relative to those of individuals who remained drivers at both waves was partly explained by a corresponding decrease in the sense of control among ceased drivers, and increased control beliefs among drivers. Interventions aimed at promoting the maintenance of personal agency and associated control beliefs could be protective against the negative psychological concomitants of driving cessation.
Chapter
As people age they tend to do more local journeys, shown by a lower mean trip length, from around 50 years onward. One reason for this is increased difficulty with mobility as people age; around one-third of those aged over 70 have mobility difficulties. Physiological changes in later life that have consequences for travel include deterioration of hearing and seeing, decreased skeletal muscles and reduced mobility of joints. Another reason for the decrease seen in many western countries is retirement from work, with many fewer trips made for commuting purposes. However, there are increases in shopping, personal business and leisure trips when commuting is reduced. That said, older people would still like to make more discretionary journeys in later life, especially to visit family and friends more often. A review of literature suggests how important mobility is for wellbeing through social interaction and being involved in activities outside the home.
Chapter
Active travel, such as walking and cycling, has direct physical health benefits for older people. However, there are many barriers to walking and cycling including issues with the maintenance of pavements, sharing the path with other users, lack of public seating and benches, proximity of speeding traffic and narrow pavements. To create better public spaces, it is important to consider safety and accessibility of the public realm but also elements such as character, legibility, adaptability and diversity. The aesthetics of space cannot be overlooked too, in order to attract older people to use the public realm. Issues such as shared space pose different challenges for older people, though research would suggest if traffic volumes are low then sharing space with other users improves for older people.
Chapter
The population of older people in the ‘western world’ is increasing both in number, as well a percentage of the overall population. Changes in lifestyle as a result of increased longevity and better health and social care mean that older people are being mobile later on in their life than ever before. This qualitative study adopts an iterative and grounded theory approach to eliciting and generating the travel needs of older drivers through in-depth qualitative research with 26 older car drivers and 31 ex-car drivers. The findings suggest three levels of travel needs, these being; practical, psychosocial and aesthetic. At a primary level, practical needs encompass day-to-day, functional and utilitarian travel needs. The secondary level, psychosocial needs, include a sense of control and independence, enhancing status and defining (personal and social) roles. The tertiary level are aesthetic needs, such as travel for pleasure and for enjoyment. Psychosocial and aesthetic needs are less obvious to the participants themselves, but arguably are of equal importance as practical needs. However, less provision is made forolder people in meeting these needs when they give-up driving. This has implications for design of travel services for older people: highlighting the importance to place emphasis not only on practical aspects of travel, but also on meeting psychosocial and aesthetic needs.
Chapter
Improvements in digital technology, increased automation and the sharing economy are all promised changes in transport provision over the next few years. How will such changes effect an increasing ageing society? There are obvious advantages that technology can bring to improve tickets on public transport with smartcards which will help older people. Trip planning can be facilitated with better more bespoke travel information and improved satnav and real-time information. Mobility scooters, electronic bikes and better inclusive designed cars and buses all help the offering to older people to maintain their mobility. Internet-based platforms facilitate collective transport offerings and can facilitate community transport and transport networks which help older people stay mobile. Supporting policy and legislation can help older people achieve quality mobility, for example accessibility has increased step-free access to public transport across Europe, though there remains still some inaccessibility especially where modification of existing infrastructure remains a costly barrier.
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Driving cessation for many older people is associated with a poorer quality of life and can lead to health problems such as depression. This paper aims to reveal the process of giving-up driving, examining in particular triggers for giving-up driving, how information on alternative modes of transport is sought and how new transport and travel behaviour is integrated into older people’s lives. It examines the challenges faced and how these are overcome and what impact the process has on self-reported quality of life, as articulated by the participants themselves. To this end, twenty-one individuals from three locations in the United Kingdom (UK) were followed over a period of 10 months, through five waves of data collection. Each participant took part in three interviews, a focus group and completed a diary of travel behaviour. Findings suggest that although a similar pattern was found between the trigger and life post-car, not all older people go through the stages of giving-up driving in the same way. Instead, a range of responses are seen, from contemplation of gradually reducing driving, through to stopping abruptly, with the route taken having consequences for the eventual outcome for any individual. Triggers for contemplating driving cessation could be varied and often involved health and social factors. Importantly, people who engaged in pre-planning reported a relatively higher quality of life beyond the car, whilst for those who were more reactive and engaged in little or no pre-planning a poorer quality of life resulted. In addition (and in conjunction with planning), other factors, such as flexibility in travel destinations, the role of family and friends, and wider support networks are also seen as important. With such evidence of the importance of pre-planning it is suggested that more could be done to support giving-up driving and encouraging contemplation at a younger age to mitigate the negative effects experienced by some.
Article
Older people today are more active and more mobile than previous generations. However, they continue to suffer a reduction in quality of life when giving up driving. This article reports research carried out to identify the role of mobility and accessibility in older people's self-reported quality of life, through an in-depth examination of older people's travel needs. A wholly qualitative approach, utilising a variety of data collection methods including focus groups, interviews and diary completion, was employed with 57 people aged over 65 in the UK, of which 26 were drivers and 31 had recently given up driving. The findings emphasise the importance of mobility for accessing services and shops. However, the reasons why older people travel and the importance of mobility go beyond accessibility to include the desire for independence, control, maintaining status, inclusion, ‘normalness’ and travel for its own sake. All these are related to an individual's perception of quality of life. When older people give up driving, their self-reported quality of life is reduced and this seems very much related to a reduction in affective and aesthetic qualities of mobility that a car affords that walking and using public transport lack. It is suggested that policy and practice needs to consider such motives for travel.
Article
Aim: To determine whether older people reported and prioritised different barriers and facilitators to bus use than younger people. Method: The Nominal Group Technique was used with 301 participants (231 older, 70 younger) to elicit reported barriers and facilitators to bus use. Categories were developed using qualitative content analysis and comparisons of categories and priorities were made. Results: Driver friendliness, ease of entry/exit and information useability were prioritised barriers and facilitators for older people. In contrast, younger participants prioritised bus punctuality, signage clarity, information provision at bus stops, bus service availability and parking facilities at the bus stop. Some similarities between older and younger adults were noted relating to convenience and bus scheduling. Conclusions: Older and younger adults have specific requirements for public transport systems which should be addressed in order to promote useable transport for all.
Article
The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of driving cessation on social integration and perceived support from relatives and friends among older adults. Data came from the population-based Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. We restricted analyses to participants aged 60+ with a history of driving (n=398). Social integration (number and frequency of contact) and perceived social support from relatives/friends, driving status (continuing or ceased), and demographic and health characteristics were assessed at interviews 13 years apart. The potential mediating role of ability to use public transit was also investigated. We used repeated measures random-intercept models to evaluate the effect of driving cessation on social network characteristics over time. Former drivers were older, were more likely to be female and non-White, had lower education, had poorer self-rated health, and had lower Mini-Mental State Examination scores relative to continuing drivers. Over the follow-up period, cessation was associated with reduced network of friends (odds ratio=0.49, p<.05). This association was not mediated by ability to use public transportation. Cessation had no impact on support from friends or relatives. Social integration is negatively affected by driving cessation even among elders who feel competent in using alternative forms of transportation, at least concerning networks of friends.
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine the association between driving cessation and depressive symptoms among older drivers. Previous efforts in this area have focused on the factors associated with cessation, not the consequences of having stopped. Cohort study. Urban community. A driving survey was administered in 1989 to surviving noninstitutionalized members of the New Haven Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (EPESE) cohort. Of 1316 respondents, 502 were active drivers as of 1988, 92 had stopped driving between 1982 and 1987, and the remainder had either never driven or had stopped before 1982. Information about independent and dependent variables other than driving status came from the in person EPESE interviews in 1982, 1985, and 1988, except for medical conditions, which were updated yearly. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale. Analyses focused on the changes in depressive symptoms before and after driving cessation. Repeated measures multivariable analysis accounted for the effect of cessation on the outcome adjusting for the potential confounding due to sociodemographic and health-related factors. Individuals who stopped driving exhibited substantial increases in depressive symptoms during the 6-year interval. Driving cessation was among the strongest predictors of increased depressive symptoms (Coefficient 2.464, SE 0.758, P = .001) even when adjusting for sociodemographic and health-related factors. Driving cessation was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms even when accounting for sociodemographic and health-related factors. These consequences need to be taken into account when advising older drivers and when developing alternative transportation strategies.
Article
Increasing age, socioeconomic factors, and declining function and health have been linked to driving cessation, but little is known about the consequences of stopping driving. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that driving cessation leads to a decline in out-of-home activity levels. In 1989 a survey of driving practices was administered to surviving noninstitutionalized members of the New Haven Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (EPESE) cohort. Of 1,316 respondents, 502 were active drivers as of 1988, 92 had stopped driving between 1982 and 1987, and 722 never drove or stopped before 1982. Information on sociodemographic and health-related variables came from in-home EPESE interviews in 1982, 1985, and 1988, and from yearly phone interviews. Activity was measured at all three in-home interviews, and an activity measure was created based on self-reported participation in nine out-of-home activities. A repeated measures random-effects model was used to test the effect of driving cessation on activity while controlling for potential confounders. Driving cessation was strongly associated with decreased out-of-home activity levels (coefficient-1.081, standard error 0.264, p < .001) after adjustment for sociodemographic and health-related factors. The potential consequences of driving limitations or cessation should be taken into account when advising older drivers and developing alternative transportation strategies to help maintain their mobility.
Article
This study examined whether changes in driving patterns-driving cessation and reduction-have negative consequences for the depressive symptoms of older Americans and whether these consequences are mitigated for people with a spouse who drives. The project used data from 3 waves of the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) study. Depressive symptoms were assessed with an abbreviated Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale. Using 2 models, the project examined how driving cessation and reduction that occurred between Waves 1 and 2 contributed to increases in depressive symptoms between Waves 2 and 3. The first model included the entire sample (N = 5,239), and the second model focused on drivers only (n = 3,543). A third model added interaction terms to the analysis to consider whether respondents who stopped driving but had a spouse who drove were less at risk of worsening depressive symptoms. Respondents who stopped driving had greater risk of worsening depressive symptoms. Drivers who restricted their driving distances before the study began also had greater risk of worsening depressive symptoms, but seemingly less so than the respondents who stopped driving altogether. For respondents who stopped driving, having a spouse available to drive them did not mitigate the risk of worsening symptoms. Changes in driving patterns can be deleterious for older people's depressive symptoms. Initiatives for assisting older people should focus on strategies that help them retain driving skills, that prepare them for the possible transition from driver to ex-driver, and that ensure that they have access to mental health therapies if driving changes are imminent.
Article
With evidence of increasing accident risk due to age-related declines in health and cognition affecting driver performance, there is a need for research promoting safe mobility of older people. The present study aimed to identify transport options and licensing issues for a group of older people in an Australian community. Ninety-five participants aged 75 and over were interviewed about their driving status and accident record and tested for cognitive ability. After stratification on cognitive level and driver status (current, ex-driver or non-driver), 30 were selected for further in-depth interviews concerning demographics, license status and impact of change, travel options available and used, and travel characteristics. Considerable reliance on the motor vehicle as the mode of transport and the decision to cease driving were major quality-of-life issues. There was little evidence of planning and support in making the decision to stop driving. Some differences in transport decisions on the basis of cognitive level were evident; however, people with severely compromised cognitive ability (and, therefore, unable to give informed consent) had been excluded. The study suggested the need for resources to assist older people/carers/health professionals to plan for the transition from driver to non-driver and to manage alternative transport options more effectively.
The future of transport in an ageing society
  • G Holley-Moore
  • H Creighton
Enhanced mobility and quality of life of older people: Assessment of economic and social benefits of dial-a-ride services
  • D J Ling
  • R Mannion