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Mobility accessibility and quality of later life

Musselwhite, Charles; Haddad, Hebba


Charles Musselwhite

Hebba Haddad


Older people today are more active and more mobile than previous generations. However, they continue to suffer a reduction in quality of life when giving up driving. This article reports research carried out to identify the role of mobility and accessibility in older people's self-reported quality of life, through an in-depth examination of older people's travel needs. A wholly qualitative approach, utilising a variety of data collection methods including focus groups, interviews and diary completion, was employed with 57 people aged over 65 in the UK, of which 26 were drivers and 31 had recently given up driving. The findings emphasise the importance of mobility for accessing services and shops. However, the reasons why older people travel and the importance of mobility go beyond accessibility to include the desire for independence, control, maintaining status, inclusion, 'normalness' and travel for its own sake. All these are related to an individual's perception of quality of life. When older people give up driving, their self-reported quality of life is reduced and this seems very much related to a reduction in affective and aesthetic qualities of mobility that a car affords that walking and using public transport lack. It is suggested that policy and practice needs to consider such motives for travel. Copyright © Pier Professional Ltd.


Musselwhite, C., & Haddad, H. (2010). Mobility accessibility and quality of later life. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 11(1), 25-37.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Mar 1, 2010
Journal Quality in Ageing
Print ISSN 1471-7794
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 25-37
Keywords older people, active, mobility, quality of life, health, transport
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This article was originally published by Pier Professional Ltd in Quality in Ageing and Older Adults 11 (1), 2010.

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