Health and travel for older people

Department for Transport study uses Understanding Society data

Health impairments associated with mobility, dexterity, physical coordination and other factors are related to a decline in the frequency of travel, according to new research published by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The research uses data from Understanding Society and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to understand more about the health of people over 50, and how it affects their travel behaviour. It was carried out by NatCen Social Research for the DfT.

The study found that health problems “increase markedly with age, especially when comparing the 65-79 and 80+ age groups” – and that impairments “are typically associated with a decline in travel, including both private and public transport”.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 12% of the UK population was over 65 in 2016, and this figure is expected to rise to 18% in 2041, and 20% in 2065. This research will help the DfT to understand what an ageing population means for the future of transport, and “how the health conditions, functioning and capabilities of people aged 50+ will change over the next 30 years, how this will impact on their travel behaviours, and what the implications for policy and infrastructure development could be”.

Read the research on the government website