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Understanding older adults' travel behaviour and mobility needs during the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of the hierarchy of travel needs: A systematic review

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E-pub ahead of print
  • M. Yazdanpanahi
  • E. Pantelaki
  • C. Holland
  • R. Gilroy
  • B. Spencer
  • R. Weston
  • A. Rogers
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/05/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Ageing and Society
Number of pages39
Pages (from-to)1-39
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date2/05/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The aim of this article is to critically review the scientific literature about the changes in travel behaviour and mobility amongst older adults caused by the COVID-19 pandemic across various countries, identify unmet travel needs and highlight patterns of inequalities in older adults' mobility. We have collected articles from four academic databases: PubMed, Scopus, Transportation Research International Documentation (TRID) and Web of Science. Papers were considered for inclusion if they were published online in 2020 or later, written in English, and referred to urban or rural changes in travel behaviour and mobility of older adults over 50 years old. We examined the pre-existing models developed before the outbreak and classified the articles based on Musselwhite and Haddad's hierarchy of older adults' travel needs. The synthesis of the selected 25 articles shows a general decline in literal mobility amongst older adults, an increased share of virtual travel and their decreased capacity to fulfil different levels of travel needs. Findings also indicate an increased gap in older adults' mobility across geographical regions with various levels of transport infrastructure and digital capital. We conclude the paper with the lessons learned, the opportunities ahead, and the challenges that must be overcome to achieve sustainable development and the United Nations Decades of Healthy Ageing goals in the post-pandemic world. Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press.