Travel habit creation of the elderly and the transition to sustainable transport: Exploratory research based on a retrospective survey

Transport researchers have identified a low propensity to use nonmotorized travel modes among retired people and associated concerns about road safety risks and obesity. This exploratory research examines the creation of driving habits during the life stages and the contextual factors that affect the travel mode choices of retired people. Retrospective, semistructured interviews with 37 retired people were undertaken in a low-density city of Canberra, Australia. Analysis of recorded data from the survey provides an example of mobility narratives organized around five hypotheses. Most respondents obtained a driver's license as soon as possible, despite many reporting favorable experiences of using public transport when young. The need to move from place to place for work and children's activities reinforces driving habits. This occurs especially in low-density environments such as Canberra where public transport cannot fulfill their needs. Once the driving habit is created it is retained well into retirement, and the preference is to keep driving independently as long as physical ability allows. In older age, some respondents self-limit their driving distances and avoid peak hours and night-time driving to minimize the safety risk. The conclusions contain research implications that explore the best opportunities to mainstream sustainable transport in an aging society. In addition to licensing and public transport issues, the authors argue that the fundamental challenge for sustainability remains how transport systems could be designed to support the needs of every generation, to minimize later dependence on the automobile.


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  • Accession Number: 01603427
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 2 2016 3:00PM