The unmet travel needs of the older population: a review of the literature

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Unmet travel needs can be defined as trips and activities that people need or would like to do more, but for a variety of reasons they are prevented from doing so. This paper provides a critical evaluation of the literature focused on unmet travel needs, with the aim of reducing the gaps of existing studies on this topic and better grasping the full dimension of older people’s mobility. The review identifies how travel needs in later life have been assessed, and the barriers which affect their ability to fulfil these needs. Due to the heterogeneity of older people and differences in research approaches, the analysis of the literature is not conclusive in terms of identifying the real impact of the analysed variables and measures on leading to unrealised mobility. Nevertheless, of the studies analysed, on average at least one-third of older people report unmet travel needs. This situation was found to worsen with age and women were reported to be more affected than men. The pursuit of leisure activities, and in particular visiting friends and family, was reported as being the activity which was most associated with unmet travel needs.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-506
Number of pages19
JournalTransport Reviews
Issue number4
Early online date9 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2016


  • older people, quality of life, unfulfilled mobility, unmet travel needs, mobility needs