The Golden Years of Walking: Are Baby Boomers Creating an Induced Demand for Active Infrastructure in America?

Widespread public interest in the national obesity epidemic and a trend toward lack of physical activity has promoted an amplified research effort focusing on the impact that the built environment has on overall physical activity, and more specifically active modes of transportation. Recent studies on this topic suggest that age is a significant correlate for active mode choice, with senior citizens (age 65+) and young people (under age 18) being the most likely to utilize these active modes. As the segment of the population known as the “baby boomers” approach age 65 in the coming years it is prudent to assert that they will begin utilizing active modes of transportation more than they have in the past. This research analyzes data from three large panel activity surveys conducted between 1989 and 2008 in Washington, Pennsylvania, and Utah, to isolate active mode choice among individuals aged 45+ and 65+, quantify the characteristics of the active trips these individuals participate in per day, and identify significant variation from characteristics of trips taken by adults ages 18-44 in the same sample. Additionally this paper specifies the purpose for each active trip (i.e. shopping, recreation, work, etc), as well as trip timing. Lastly this paper uses existing literature on built environment correlations to interpolate the impact the aging U.S. population will have on active transportation infrastructure, and provides suggestions for transportation policy innovation to address this growing demand for active mode infrastructure.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 13p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01157048
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-0819
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:23AM