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

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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
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2021


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