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Introduction: Conceptualising Travel, Transport and Mobility for Older People

Transport, Travel and Later Life

ISBN: 978-1-78714-624-2, eISBN: 978-1-78714-623-5

Publication date: 1 December 2017


Countries across the globe are seeing both an ageing population and an increase in mobility. This chapter looks at how society deals with an ageing population that also wants or needs to be mobile. Lack of mobility is synonymous with poorer health and wellbeing, with research suggesting it can lead to loneliness, isolation and even death. Hence, it seems appropriate to keep older people as mobile as later on in life as possible. The car is often seen as the panacea to this, but older people are the group most likely to have to give-up driving. How society provides alternatives to the car depends on how mobility is viewed. This chapter argues that we need to see older people’s mobility as a human issue, understanding their needs and realising there are affective and emotive relationships between people and mobility. We still provide mobility for older people based purely on functional journeys to hospitals, services and shops. Yet research suggests mobility to connect people, for a day out, for leisure purposes and for its own sake are vital to the wellbeing of older people. Services for older people need to recognise this and provide for it and there are some good examples in the community but these are too few and far between. Additionally, because transport is seen as functional for older people, there is a lack of emphasis on the aesthetic or on providing attractive services for older people, as if this isn’t important to older people. Finally, mobility doesn’t always have to be literal for older people and there is an argument that needs can be met through potential, virtual and imaginative mobility.



Musselwhite, C. (2017), "Introduction: Conceptualising Travel, Transport and Mobility for Older People", Musselwhite, C. (Ed.) Transport, Travel and Later Life (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 10), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-14.



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