Cohort analysis of older adults' travel patterns in Denmark

Anu Kristiina Siren, Sonja Haustein

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    The developed industrialized countries are undergoing a significant demographic change involv-ing the ageing of the population. In Europe, the ‘old-age dependency ratio’ (those aged over 65 as a percentage of the population aged 20-64 years) is expected to double between 2000 and 2050 according to Eurostat projections (Lanzieri, 2011). In Denmark, the proportion of people 65+ is expected to be about 24 per cent in 2040 (Statistics Denmark, 2011). It can be expected that this population will be a heterogeneous group regarding both age and other characteristics.
    The ageing of the population will have a variety of social implications, for example on care and health systems, labour market, and pensions, which has made the issue to enter the socio-political agendas. One, although often overlooked, aspect of this is the everyday mobility in the transport system of the ageing population. Nevertheless, ageing and transport has several im-portant societal implications.
    First, society will face a challenge of providing policies and plans that support the mobility needs of the senior population. Mobility is closely connected to well-being and health of older persons. Mobility and the ability to leave the home are among the essential aspects in the quality of life of older persons (Farquhar, 1995). Driving cessation has been found to be among the strongest predictors of increased depressive symptoms in older people (Marottoli et al., 1997), whereas car access is associated with better health and psychosocial benefits (Ellaway, Macintyre, Hiscock, & Kearns, 2003; Macintyre, Hiscock, Kearns, & Ellaway, 2001). An individual’s ability to use the transportation system freely has long been defined as one of the seven important ar-eas in the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) of the elderly (Fillenbaum, 1985). Provid-ing satisfactory opportunities for independent travel and mobility will support the older popula-tion in independent living and well-being, which in turn has positive implications on societal lev-el.
    Second, it is likely that the older population’s travel will have an impact on the whole transport system; shaping the way transportation is planned, organized and managed (Coughlin, 2009). The older road users have somewhat different needs and preferences than younger adults, which will have an impact on traffic flows, safety, and infrastructural needs.
    Original languageDanish
    Number of pages45
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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