Travel difficulties and barriers during later life: evidence from the National Travel Survey in England

Carlo Luiu, Miles Tight

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Using data from the National Travel Survey in England, this study investigates which factors lead to experiencing travel difficulties amongst people aged 60 years old and above. The ability to be mobile is one of the key factors enabling older people to maintain their wellbeing and independence while ageing. Given the shift towards an ageing population that our society is experiencing, providing an age-friendly transportation environment becomes necessary to allow older people to be able to fulfil their travel needs and keep involved in societal participation. By employing a conceptual framework based on five interrelated domains shaping mobility during later life, this paper explores older people's difficulties in accessing transport resources, mode usage and undertaking out-of-home activities. Poor health and wellbeing conditions, lack of access to transport resources and gender are identified as the main predictors to experiencing travel difficulties in later life, while activities more affected in this sense are medical appointments, visiting family or friends and social ones. The findings have implications for policies, planning and interventions targeting age-friendly and inclusive transport and environment and show the need to move beyond the transport domain and employ a more holistic and intersectionality-based approach to understand what affects and shapes mobility in later life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102973
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for funding from The Institute for Global Innovation (IGI) of the University of Birmingham, which has helped support this project. This study uses data from the NTS. The NTS 2002?2016 data sets of the UK Department for Transport were kindly provided by the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) through the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex, Colchester. The original data creators, depositors, copyright holders and the UK Data Archive bear no responsibility for their further analysis or interpretation. The authors would like also to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments on an earlier draft of the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Ageing
  • Older people
  • Social exclusion
  • Transport barriers
  • Travel difficulties
  • Unmet travel needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)


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