A paper I co-authored has just been published in the Journal of Transport and Health. This research analysed travel data for London to see which factors influence whether people leave their house on a given day. While people can have happy healthy days staying at home there can be benefits in terms of physical activity and social interaction from going out.
Looking at huge data sets for London’s population enables us to see patterns in who is and who isn’t going out. These patterns show us that older people are much less likely to leave their house on a given day than younger people and it is not all down to no longer being employed or to increasing disability. Even when these factors are controlled for in the analysis older people are less likely to go out.
London, like many cities around the world, is seeing growth in the older population (by 2035 there will be 750,000 Londoners aged over 75). This research is an important reminder of the need to take the Healthy Streets Approach to ensure older people have the transport options to enable them to stay healthy and socially connected. In London older people have universal free travel on the public transport network. Healthy ageing depends on greater priority being given to improving the quality of the experience for older people when walking, cycling, using public transport and spending time on streets.
You can read the full paper here