Mobility patterns among older people in Sweden: a study of women's and men's experiences and modal choices from a life course perspective

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In Europe people in urban areas, generally have access to some sort of public transport (PT). Sweden is one of the European countries with high level of ambition trying to increase the proportion of the older and impaired travelling with PT. Since a few years ago there is a programme about to increase accessibility and user-friendliness, and the program declares PT should be accessible for all older and impaired persons. However, this is not yet the case. Still many older persons (65+) do not use ordinary PT at all. The purpose of the present study is to investigate older people’s visions of their opportunities to use various transportation modes for daily travel and especially their experiences of PT.

Methods and materials: in total 30 individual in depth interviews and 9 focus groups with older people. The youngest is about 62 and the oldest is 93 years.

The study shows there are pertinent gendered variations in the use of transportation modes. The differences are not always due to issues of accessibility, but rather to habits and life course trajectories. According to the stories told by older informants from both urban and rural areas, it is concluded that habits and experiences during the life course influence the travel mode choice and options in later life. Previous mobility patterns have an effect on mobility patterns today. It was also found that the informants in this study travelled a lot more than expected from the researchers in the beginning of the study.

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