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Determinants of the Travel Behavior of the Suburban Elderly


  • Geoffrey C. Smith
  • Gina M. Sylvestre


In recent years, a significant feature of population change in North American metropolitan areas has been the rapid suburbanization of elderly people. The ability to engage in routine activity may be a necessary condition for the maintenance of independent life styles and psychological well‐being among older suburbanites. Using a conceptual framework based on Parmelee and Lawton's ecological model of aging, this article offers an exploratory investigation of the determinants of the travel of separate samples of elderly male and female suburbanites to each of five destination categories of key service/activity sites in a Canadian city. The results of the tests of ten multiple regression models disclose that the levels of explanation of trip frequency afforded by “autonomy components” (e.g. health‐related characteristics, living arrangements, and income level) vary according to destination category. However, the explanatory power of “security components” (i.e. variables concerning access to destination categories) is generally low. Overall, the findings of the study provide a basis for developing a deeper understanding of the repetitive travel behavior of elderly suburbanites.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey C. Smith & Gina M. Sylvestre, 2001. "Determinants of the Travel Behavior of the Suburban Elderly," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 395-412.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:32:y:2001:i:3:p:395-412
    DOI: 10.1111/0017-4815.00165

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    Cited by:

    1. Khandker M. Nurul Habib & Vivian Hui, 2017. "An activity-based approach of investigating travel behaviour of older people," Transportation, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 555-573, May.
    2. Ruben G. Mercado & K. Bruce Newbold, 2009. "Car Driving and Public Transit Use in Canadian Metropolitan Areas: Focus on Elderly and Role of Health and Social Network Factors," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 243, McMaster University.
    3. Urbanek, Anna & Acedański, Jan & Krawczyk, Grzegorz, 2023. "Depopulation or ageing? Decomposing the aggregate effects of projected demographic changes on urban transport systems," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    4. Perchoux, Camille & Kestens, Yan & Thomas, Frédérique & Hulst, Andraea Van & Thierry, Benoit & Chaix, Basile, 2014. "Assessing patterns of spatial behavior in health studies: Their socio-demographic determinants and associations with transportation modes (the RECORD Cohort Study)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 64-73.
    5. Theo Arentze & Harry Timmermans & Peter Jorritsma & Marie-José Olde Kalter & Arnout Schoemakers, 2008. "More gray hair—but for whom? Scenario-based simulations of elderly activity travel patterns in 2020," Transportation, Springer, vol. 35(5), pages 613-627, August.
    6. Mercado, Ruben & Páez, Antonio, 2009. "Determinants of distance traveled with a focus on the elderly: a multilevel analysis in the Hamilton CMA, Canada," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 65-76.
    7. Sonja Haustein, 2012. "Mobility behavior of the elderly: an attitude-based segmentation approach for a heterogeneous target group," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(6), pages 1079-1103, November.
    8. Biranchi Adhikari & Ajay Kumar Behera & Rabindra Narayan Mahapatra & Harish Chandra Das, 2022. "Retracted: An empirical model for Indian senior citizens in traffic management," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 35-56, March.
    9. Matthew Roorda & Antonio Páez & Catherine Morency & Ruben Mercado & Steven Farber, 2010. "Trip generation of vulnerable populations in three Canadian cities: a spatial ordered probit approach," Transportation, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 525-548, May.
    10. Moniruzzaman, Md. & Páez, Antonio & Nurul Habib, Khandker M. & Morency, Catherine, 2013. "Mode use and trip length of seniors in Montreal," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 89-99.
    11. Hitomi Nakanishi & John Black, 2015. "Social Sustainability Issues and Older Adults’ Dependence on Automobiles in Low-Density Environments," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 7(6), pages 1-21, June.
    12. Antonio Paez & Darren Scott & Dimitris Potoglou & Pavlos Kanaroglou & K. Bruce Newbold, 2007. "Elderly Mobility: Demographic and Spatial Analysis of Trip Making in the Hamilton CMA, Canada," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(1), pages 123-146, January.
    13. Zhihong Li & Zinan Wang & Yanjie Wen & Li Zhao, 2022. "Exploration and Prediction of the Elderly Travel Behavior Based on a Novel GR-GA-BP Hybrid Model," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(20), pages 1-17, October.

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