Äldres vardagliga resor: val av färdmedel och erfarenheter av kollektivtrafik

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The aim of the present study is to gain a deeper understanding of how older women and men are using public transport, but also enhance the understanding of whether they are using other means of transport and what is the basis for their choice. The study’s interest is in variations among older people’s narratives. To grasp the heterogeneity "among older people" the subjects involved were recruited from both urban and rural areas. They have different backgrounds, age and gender. The majority of them are ethnic Swedes, however, the study also included people with different ethnic background. The study includes 30 qualitative interviews with older people from two regions: Östergötland and Jönköping, 18 women and 12 men.

The respondents often transported themselves by walking, sometimes even by bicycle; actually many chose walking or bicycling before bus or car. They stressed the importance of coming out and meeting other people, and moving around in different environments. They even referred to the importance of health reasons.

Elements of restrictions appear in some of their stories which are not always by their own choice and must therefore be considered in future planning so that these individuals are not left out of the contexts they need and want to participate in. Examples of restrictions might be long distance to the bus stop, stairs, travel centers and other interchanges at different levels/floors, timetables that are not synchronized or buses at times that do not fit older people’s daily activity patterns. Except from deficiencies in public transport, it can also be about cycle paths or sidewalks that abruptly end at a difference in level, or stairs to the next available accessible area. When the whole chain of movements in the transport environment is not available, problems may occur. For the oldest respondents, it is particularly important that the 'whole journey' works. It is more common that the younger respondents travel by car and the interviewees also refer to car driving as an activity when one is reasonably young and healthy. But a lot of them are still driving at the age of 80-–90, some even after the 90th birthday, which indicate that it is not until you can no longer drive a car as you become more dependent on society's resources and of other people. The women in the present study describe the bus in more positive terms than men. Many of those who want to travel by bus believe that the bus is a good means of transport and describe it in certain ways: efficient, safe, environmentally friendly and economically efficient. More women than men in the study also describe that they are happy to choose other means of travel instead of the car in order to be able to relax, watch and meet other people, but also to have some time for themselves.

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