Examining the Mobility Needs and Challenges of Older Adults in Urban, Suburban, and Rural Environments

A comprehensive examination of the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) data was conducted to identify the mobility needs and challenges faced by older adults (i.e., age 65 and older) in urban, suburban, and rural environments. Data pertaining to older adults in the NHTS dataset were divided into three age groups: age 65 to 74, 75 to 85, and 85 and older. Travel behavioral variables examined include average daily trip rate, average daily person miles traveled, trip purposes, and trip modes. Personal characteristics relevant to potential mobility challenges include age, gender, residential environment, income level, and ambulation assistive devices required for daily activities. Cross tabulation of these variables was used to elicit consistent patterns of inter-relationships among the variables to see how age and environment can affect mobility of older adults.Findings from the analysis confirm common conjectures that average number of daily person trips and daily person miles generally decreased with increasing age as well as decreasing urbanization of the environment. This general pattern also applied to those requiring ambulation assistance to a certain degree. Daily person trip rates also increased consistently as income levels increased, while older females tend to travel less frequent and shorter distance than their male counterparts. Privately owned vehicles (POVs) were the dominant transportation mode in the U.S with a significant lack of alternatives in the suburban and rural areas. The authors identified with evidence from the data that older adults in urban areas with low income are most vulnerable for adverse consequences of immobility.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01763673
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-01531
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:08AM