Preferred modes of travel among older adults: What factors affect the choice to walk instead of drive?

There are many factors that influence older adults' travel choices. This paper explores the associations between mode of travel choice for a short trip and older adults' personal characteristics. This study included 406 drivers over the age of 64 who were enrolled in a large integrated health plan in the United States between 1991 and 2001. Bivariate analyses and generalized linear modeling were used to examine associations between choosing to walk or drive and respondents' self-reported general health, physical and functional abilities, and confidence in walking and driving. Having more confidence in their ability to walk versus drive increased an older adult's likelihood of walking to make a short trip by about 20% (PR = 1.22; 95% CI: 1.06-1.40), and walking for exercise increased the likelihood by about 50% (PR = 1.53; 95% CI = 1.22-1.91). Reporting fair or poor health decreased the likelihood of walking, as did cutting down on the amount of driving due to a physical problem. Factors affecting a person's decision to walk for exercise may not be the same as those that influence their decision to walk as a mode of travel. It is important to understand the barriers to walking for exercise and walking for travel to develop strategies to help older adults meet both their exercise and mobility needs. Increasing walking over driving among older adults may require programs that increase confidence in walking and encourage walking for exercise.


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  • Accession Number: 01147305
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 15 2009 2:25PM