Seniors’ unmet mobility needs – how important is a driving licence?

Sonja Haustein, Anu Kristiina Siren

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    Previous studies have come to different conclusions regarding how important a driving licence is for seniors to fulfil their mobility needs. We investigated this question based on three groups of Danish seniors: persons who were licensed as drivers (‘‘drivers’’); persons who have never been licensed drivers (‘‘never-drivers’’); and persons who recently gave up their licence (‘‘ex-drivers’’). Data were collected via standardised telephone interviews in 2012 among 863 individuals born in 1939/40. The three groups differed significantly in socio-demographics and health; never-drivers had the least resources, and ex-drivers the poorest health. Moreover, the two unlicensed groups had more unmet mobility needs than drivers. In ordinal regression models, both never having had a licence and having given up a licence significantly affected unmet mobility needs. Among the background variables, which were successively added to the models, health variables were most relevant, while socio-demographics and infrastructure played a minor role. When entering the health variables to the models, the effect of giving up a licence decreased but remained significant for unmet leisure needs, while it became insignificant for unmet shopping needs. The effect of never having had a licence was hardly affected by the inclusion of control variables. The results emphasise the importance of a driving licence in fulfilling seniors’ mobility needs. Contrary to our hypotheses, more experience with, and better access to alternative transport modes cannot sufficiently compensate for mobility problems due to the lack of the option to drive.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Transport Geography
    Pages (from-to)45-52
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


    • Driving cessation
    • Older drivers
    • Mobility needs
    • Senior mobility
    • Car availability
    • License renewal


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