Private Transport Access Among Older People: Identifying the Disadvantaged
Private transport is important in enabling older people living in the community to maintain their independence and social networks. Access to this resource remains a major concern for older people. This study examines the demographic risk factors that restrict older people's access to private transport. The findings lead to policy recommendations directed towards self-reliance. Analysis, based on the study's household survey consisting of a sample of noninstitutionalised older Gold Coast people (N=401), reveals that there is a sizable group (29%) who do not drive. Of single older women, 21% report that the inability to drive causes significant hardship. Being female, aged over 80 years, receiving a full government pension and possessing a disability are significant factors to the inability to drive. Within coupled households the preference for male drivers may lead to the depreciation of women's driving skills. Since these women are likely to become widowed, they eventually lose their primary source of transport. Programmes delaying the surrender of licences - such as campaigns encouraging married older women not to surrender their driver licences prematurely - will alleviate the pressure of the growing demand for government subsidised transport services and promote greater independence among the older people.
School of Economics Discussion Papers