Transportation and Promoting Physical Activity Among Older People

  • Charles Musselwhite


Walking and cycling (‘active travel’) as part of daily routines can promote moderate physical activity. However, barriers in the built environment, for example, poorly maintained pavements, can make the environment very difficult for older people to walk or cycle in. Streets and roads around the world tend to be designed most prominently for vehicles and there is a need to create spaces to separate vehicles from walking and cycling, where possible, to reduce danger, pollution and noise. With regard to norms, where walking and cycling is part of a culture, more older people walk and cycle. Better governance is needed to manage the different stakeholders and users of the built environment and give more power to vulnerable users, including older people.


  1. AGE UK. (2012). Pride of place. How councillors can improve neighbourhoods for older people. London: AGE UK Campaign.Google Scholar
  2. Alves, S., Aspinall, P., Ward Thompson, C., Sugiyama, T., Brice, R., & Vickers, A. (2008). Preferences of older people for environmental attributes of local parks: The use of choice-based conjoint analysis. Facilities, 26(11/12), 433–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews, G. (2011). Just the ticket? Exploring the contribution of free bus fares policy to quality of later life. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of the West of England, Bristol, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.Google Scholar
  4. Asher, L., Aresu, M., Falaschetti, E. A., & Mindell, J. (2012). Most older pedestrians are unable to cross the road in time: A cross-sectional study. Age and Ageing, 41, 690–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Atkin, R. (2010). Sight line. Designing better streets for people with low vision. London: Helen Hamlyn Centre/Centre, Royal College of Art.Google Scholar
  6. Balfour, J. L., & Kaplan, G. A. (2002). Neighborhood environment and loss of physical function in older adults: Evidence from the Alameda County study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 155, 507–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burholt, V., Roberts, M. S., & Musselwhite, C. B. A. (2016). Older People’s external residential assessment tool (OPERAT): A complementary participatory and metric approach to the development of an observational environmental measure. BMC Public Health, 16, 1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. CABE. (2011). Seven principles of good design. Last accessed 1 June 2017.
  9. Dargay, J., Last, A., & Goodwin, P. (2010). Concessionary travel: The research papers (A report to the Department for Transport). Leeds: Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds.Google Scholar
  10. Davies, D. G., Halliday, M. E., Mayes, M., & Pocock, R. L. (1997). Attitudes to cycling: A qualitative study and conceptual framework. Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory.Google Scholar
  11. Deguen, S., & Zmirou-Navier, D. (2010). Social inequalities resulting from health risks related to ambient air quality—A European review. European Journal of Public Health, 20, 27–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Department for Transport (DfT). (2011). Climate change and transport choices segmentation – Underlying data. Last accessed 1 June 2017.
  13. Department for Transport (DfT). (2014). Transport statistics great Britain: (2013). London: DfT. Available at: Accessed 1 June 2017.
  14. Department for Transport (DfT). (2015a). National travel survey. Available at: Last accessed 1 June 2017.
  15. Department for Transport (DfT). (2015b). Facts on pedestrian casualties. Available at: Last accessed 1 June 2017.
  16. Dijkstra, A., & Bos, J. M. J. (1997). ACEA – Dutch contribution: Road safety effects of small infrastructural measures with emphasis on pedestrians. Leidschendam: SWOV.Google Scholar
  17. Domnes, A., Cavallo, V., Baptiste Dubuisson, J., Tournier, I., & Vienne, F. (2014). Crossing a two-way street: Comparison of young and old pedestrians. Journal of Safety Research, 50, 27–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunbar, G., Holland, C. A., & Maylor, E. A. (2004). Older pedestrians: A critical review of the literature road safety research report no. 37. London: Department for Transport.Google Scholar
  19. Elliott, M. A., McColl, V. A., & Kennedy, J. V. (2003). Road design measures to reduce drivers’ speed via “psychological” processes: A literature review (TRL Report TRL564). Crowthorne: TRL Limited.Google Scholar
  20. Fonda, S. J., Wallace, R. B., & Herzog, A. R. (2001). Changes in driving patterns and worsening depressive symptoms among older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 56B(6), S343–S351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gauvin, L., Richard, L., Kestens, Y., Shatenstein, B., Daniel, M., Moore, S. D., Mercille, G., & Payette, H. (2012). Living in a well-serviced urban area is associated with maintenance of frequent walking among seniors in the VoisiNuAge study. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 67, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hamer, M., & Chida, Y. (2008). Walking and primary prevention: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(4), 238–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hammond, V., & Musselwhite, C. B. A. (2013). The attitudes, perceptions and concerns of pedestrians and vulnerable road users to shared space: A case study from the UK. Journal Of Urban Design, 18(1), 78–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Humphrey, A., & Scott, A. (2012). Older people’s use of concessionary bus travel. Report by NatCen Social Research for Age UK. Available from: Accessed 10 Apr 2017.
  25. Job, R. F. (1998). Pedestrians at traffic light controlled intersections: Crossing behaviour of the elderly and non-elderly. Proceedings of the conference on pedestrian safety, 29 and 30 June, Melbourne, 40–4.Google Scholar
  26. Jones, T., Chatterjee, K., Spinney, J., Street, E., Van Reekum, C., Spencer, B., Jones, H., Leyland, L. A., Mann, C., Williams, S., & Beale, N. (2016). cycle BOOM. Design for lifelong health and wellbeing. Summary of key findings and recommendations. Oxford, UK: Oxford Brookes University.Google Scholar
  27. Kennedy, J. V., Gorell, R., Crinson, L., Wheeler, A., & Elliott, M. A. (2005). Psychological traffic calming (TRL Report TRL641). Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory.Google Scholar
  28. King, G. (1991). No particular place to go. Report for transport 2000: Transport and environment in Wales, Llandrindod Wells.Google Scholar
  29. Ling, D. J., & Mannion, R. (1995). Enhanced mobility and quality of life of older people: Assessment of economic and social benefits of dial-a- ride services. Proceedings of the seventh international conference on Transport and Mobility for Older and Disabled People, Vol. 1. London: Department for the Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR).Google Scholar
  30. Lord, S. E., Weatherall, M., & Rochester, L. (2010). Community ambulation in older adults: Which internal characteristics are important? Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91(3), 378–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mackett, R. (2013a). The impact of concessionary bus travel on the wellbeing of older and disabled people. Transportation Research Record, 2352, 114–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mackett, R. (2013b). The benefits of a policy of free bus travel for older people. Proceedings of the 13th world conference on transport research, Rio de Janeiro, 15–18 July.Google Scholar
  33. Mitchell, C. G. B. (2013). The licensing and safety of older drivers in Britain. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 50, 732–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitchell, L., & Burton, E. (2006). Neighbourhoods for life: Designing dementia-friendly outdoor environments. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 7(1), 26–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Musselwhite, C. (2014). Designing public space for older people. Generations Review, 24(3), 25–27.Google Scholar
  36. Musselwhite, C. (2016). Vision for an age friendly transport system in Wales. EnvisAGE, Age Cymru, 11, 14–23.Google Scholar
  37. Musselwhite, C. B. A. (2015). Further examinations of mobility in later life and improving health and wellbeing. Journal of Transport & Health, 2(2), 99–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Musselwhite, C. B. A., & Shergold, I. (2013). Examining the process of driving cessation in later life. European Journal of Ageing, 10(2), 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Newton, R., & Ormerod, M. (2008). The design of streets with older people in mind: Design guide – Materials of footways and footpaths. I’DGO inclusive design for getting outdoors. Available at: Last accessed 1 June 2017.
  40. Newton, R. A., & Ormerod, M. G. (2012). The design of streets with older people in mind: Tactile paving. I’DGO. Inclusive design for getting outdoors. Available at: Accessed 1 June 2017.
  41. Newton, R. A., Ormerod, M. G., Burton, E., Mitchell, L., & Ward-Thompson, C. (2010). Increasing independence for older people through good street design. Journal of Integrated Care, 18(3), 24–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. NICE. (2013). Walking and cycling: Local measures to promote walking and cycling as forms of travel or recreation NICE public health guidance 41. Available at: Last accessed 8 Jan 2017.
  43. Nyman, S., Ballinger, C., Phillips, J., & Newton, R. (2013). Characteristics of outdoor falls among older people: A qualitative study. BMC Geriatrics, 13(1), 125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Office for National Statistics (ONS). (2015). Annual mid-year population estimates for the UK. Available at: Last accessed 10 Apr 2017.
  45. Parkhurst, G., Galvin, K., Musselwhite, C., Phillips, J., Shergold, I., & Todres, L. (2014). Beyond transport: Understanding the role of mobilities in connecting rural elders in civic society. In C. Hennesey, R. Means, & V. Burholt (Eds.), Countryside connections: Older people, community and place in rural Britain (pp. 125–175). Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pooley, C., Jones, T., Tight, M., Horton, D., Scheldeman, G., Mullen, C., Jopson, A., & Strano, E. (2013). Promoting walking and cycling: New perspectives on sustainable travel. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Preston, J. M., & Raje, F. (2007). Accessibility, mobility and transport-related social exclusion. Journal of Transport Geography, 15(3), 151–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Prohaska, T., Anderson, L., & Binstock, R. (Eds.). (2012). Public health for an aging society. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  49. PROMISING. (2001). Measures for pedestrian safety and mobility: A cross Europe study. Leidschendam: SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research.Google Scholar
  50. Pucher, J., & Buehler, R. (2008). Making cycling irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. Transport Reviews, 28(4), 495–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pucher, J., & Buehler, R. (2012). City cycling. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. isbn:9780262517812.Google Scholar
  52. Saelens, B. E., Sallis, J. F., Black, J. B., & Chen, D. (2003). Neighborhood-based differences in physical activity: An environment scale evaluation. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1552–1558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schlag, B., Schwenkhagen, U., & Trankle, U. (1996). Transportation for the elderly: Towards a user- friendly combination of private and public transport. IATSS Research, 20(1), 75–82.Google Scholar
  54. Shumway-Cook, A., Patla, A., Stewart, A., Ferrucci, L., Ciol, M. A., & Guralnik, J. M. (2003). Environmental components of mobility disability in community-living older persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 51, 393–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ståhl, A., Carlsson, G., Hovbrandt, P., & Iwarsson, S. (2008). “Let’s go for a walk!”: Identification and prioritisation of accessibility and safety measures involving elderly people in a residential area. European Journal of Ageing, 5, 265–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Strath, S. J., Greenwald, M. J., Isaacs, R., Hart, T. L., Lenz, E. K., Dondzila, C. J., & Swartz, A. M. (2012). Measured and perceived environmental characteristics are related to accelerometer defined physical activity in older adults. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9, 40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sugiyama, T., & Ward Thompson, C. (2007). Outdoor environments, activity and well-being of older people: Conceptualising environmental support. Environment and Planning A, 39(8), 1943–1960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sugiyama, T., & Ward Thompson, C. (2008). Associations between characteristics of NBH open space and older people’s walking. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 7(1), 41–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Webb, E., Netuveli, G., & Millett, C. (2011). Free bus passes, use of public transport and obesity among older people in England. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66(2), 176–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wennberg, H. (2009). Walking in old age: A year-round perspective on accessibility in the outdoor environment and effects of measures taken. Doctoral thesis. Institutionen för Teknik och samhälle, Trafik och väg. Available at: Last accessed 6 Apr 2017.
  61. WHO (World Health Organisation). (1999). Charter on transport, environment and health, European Series (Vol. 89). Geneva: WHO Regional Publications.Google Scholar
  62. Williams, K., Gupta, R., Smith, I., Joynt, J., Hopkins, D., Bramley, G., Payne, C., Gregg, M., Hambleton, R., Bates-Brkljac, N., Dunse, N., & Musselwhite, C. (2012). Suburban neighbourhood adaptation for a changing climate (SNACC) (Final Report). University of the West of England, Oxford Brookes University and Heriot-Watt University.Google Scholar
  63. Ziegler, F., & Schwanen, T. (2011). I like to go out to be energised by different people: An exploratory analysis of mobility and wellbeing in later life. Ageing and Society, 31(5), 758–781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zijlstra, G. A., van Haastregt, J. C., van Eijk, J. T., van Rossum, E., Stalenhoef, P. A., & Kempen, G. I. (2007). Prevalence and correlates of fear of falling, and associated avoidance of activity in the general population of community living older people. Age and Ageing, 36(3), 304–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Musselwhite
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Innovative AgeingSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

Personalised recommendations