Impact of health on driving for America's older adults: A nationwide, longitudinal study

TitleImpact of health on driving for America's older adults: A nationwide, longitudinal study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsWang, X
JournalTransport Policy
ISSN Number0967-070X
KeywordsAging, Elderly, Mode choice, Well Being

By 2030, one in every five Americans will be 65 or older. To better serve the mobility needs of a rapidly aging population, a better understanding of older adults' driving behavior is needed. This study explores the impact of health on driving reduction for America's older adults, using a nationwide, longitudinal dataset from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). I propose two outcome variables: having driven in the past month, and having driven beyond nearby places; and measure health using overall self-rated health status and specific sensory, mobility and physical conditions. Controlling for socio-demographics, residential patterns, personal fixed effects, time fixed effects, and regional fixed effects, I find that older adults with lower self-rated health were less likely to drive or drive beyond nearby places. The magnitudes of such effects vary by race but not by gender. I also identify specific health conditions that could predict driving reduction. The findings imply that in the near future, there will be a large number of older adults suffering from unmet travel demands due to declining health conditions. Hence, planners and policy makers should be proactive in seeking for solutions, including using my findings to identify at-risk older drivers and provide various types of mobility assistance.

Citation KeyWANG202269