Understanding travel patterns to support safe active transport for older adults

Stephen Paul O'Hern, Jennifer Anne Oxley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Transport and mobility needs for all aged road users are diverse and may change with increasing age. With an increasing ageing population throughout much of the developed world combined with increasing life expectancies, there is a growing need to understand the transportation requirements of older adults. Moreover, while car use is still the most popular form of transport for older adults, alternative transport modes are offered and promoted, and their use is increasing. This paper explores the characteristics of active transport usage among older adults, defined as persons over 65 years of age, in Melbourne, Australia. Data from the Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel Activity (VISTA) was analysed to undertake the assessment. The analysis revealed that private motorised transport is the predominant mode of transport for older adults, representing approximately 70 of travel. Approximately 22 of travel was made using active transportation, with the majority of these being walking trips. Average trip distance, trip duration and walking speed were found to decrease past the age of 75years. The analysis shows that the travel patterns of older adults differ from those of younger adults which may reflect the fact that transitions in lifestyle influence their travel needs, destinations and time of travel, or an overall decrease in mobility.The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of ways to improve participation in active transportation and enhance the safe mobility of older active transport users, including a need to enhance the urban environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79 - 85
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Transport & Health
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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