Mobility in different generations of older persons: The development of daily travel in different cohorts in Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Publisher's full text
Randi Hjorthol
Anu Siren

In the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the proportion of older people in the total population is expected to reach about 25% in 2060. The ageing of the population has a variety of social implications. One aspect of population ageing that has relatively little attention in the Scandinavian countries is the question of everyday mobility. The purpose of this paper is to get a better understanding of the activity and travel patterns of different groups of older people, examine how travel- and activity patterns are developing during the life course, study the changes over time and how the "new" generations of older people behave compared to the older ones. The method used is cohort analysis of National Travel Surveys from the three countries in a 20 years perspective. Results show a significant period effect in car ownership and use among older people in Denmark. Norway and Sweden with a clear increase during the past 20 years. This is especially true for women. The increase in the number of driver's licence-holders and car availability is reflected in travel mode choice among older people: both men and women maintain their car-use habits at old age. Another clear finding is that older people today travel more than the comparable age groups 20-25 years ago: everyday trip rates are higher and activities outside home are more common. While commuting and work-related trips decline after retirement, shopping and leisure trips do not start to decline before high age. From the cohort analysis we see that leisure and shopping trips are maintained in the period after retirement, and the car is important to reach shopping malls, health service, leisure activities, visit relatives and other social company.

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