Why Can’t Abuela Take Lyft To Her Doctor? A Mixed Methods Study of Older Adult Mobility in Inner-City Los Angeles

Aging affects mobility in many ways. Through the lens of a dense low-income urban neighborhood in Los Angeles, the authors sought to understand how aging and mobility interact in a population mostly comprised of non-drivers. They conducted six focus groups and interviewed an additional thirty people in English, Korean, and Spanish asking them travel diary-like questions. The authors found that low-income and low-car ownership, more than age, determined their travel patterns. With many nearby destinations and ample public transit in the neighborhood, the majority of trips were taken on public transit and by walking. Physical ability did not constrain participants’ use of public transit, but did detract from the experience. Getting on and off the bus and walking to and waiting at the bus stop in unpleasant or threatening environments presented challenges for these older adults. For certain types of trips - social and grocery trips in particular - participants tended to travel in private cars with people they knew. Very few trips were completed by taxi or paratransit, and the vast majority of participants did not know about or were uninterested in using ride hailing services. Financial resources, language barriers, and personal comfort levels all played major roles in determining travel patterns and preferences of these low-income older adult research participants. The authors recommend that planners focus on improving transit and sidewalk conditions to enhance the mobility of low-income urban-dwelling older adults. Increasing access to point-to-point options could aid older adult mobility as long as financial, technological, and language barriers are addressed.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ANB60 Standing Committee on Safe Mobility of Older Persons.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Brozen, Madeline
    • Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia
    • Marshall, Lia W
    • Pinski, Miriam
    • Wachs, Martin
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References;
  • Pagination: 6p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01697491
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-05083
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2018 9:29AM