The role of transport and mobility in the health of older people

Charles Musselwhite*, Carol Holland, Ian Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The world's population is ageing. Older people are healthier and more active than previous generations. Living in a hypermobile world, people want to stay connected to dispersed communities as they age. Staying connected to communities and social networks enables older people to contribute and connect with society and is associated with positive mental and physical health, facilitating independence and physical activity while reducing social isolation. Changes in physiology and cognition associated with later life mean longer journeys may have to be curtailed. A shift in focus is needed to fully explore older people, transport and health; a need to be multidisciplinary in approach and to embrace social sciences and arts and humanities. A need to embrace different types of mobilities is needed for a full understanding of ageing, transport and health, moving from literal or corporeal through virtual and potential to imaginative mobility, taking into account aspirations and emotions. Mobility in later life is more than a means of getting to destinations and includes more affective or emotive associations. Cycling and walking are facilitated not just by improving safety but through social and cultural norms. Car driving can be continued safely in later life if people make appropriate and informed decisions about when and how to stop driving; stringent testing of driver ability and skill has as yet had little effect on safety. Bus use facilitates physical activity and keeps people connected but there are concerns for the future viability of buses. The future of transport may be more community led and involve more sharing of transport modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Issue number1
Early online date7 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of transport and health. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Musselwhite, C., Holland, C., & Walker, I. The role of transport and mobility in the health of older people. Journal of transport and health, Vol.2, No.1 (2015) DOI


  • ageing
  • health
  • mobilities
  • older people
  • transport
  • wellbeing


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