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Travel Behavior in Ageing Societies: A Comparison of Germany and the United States

Bühler, Ralph and Nobis, Claudia (2010) Travel Behavior in Ageing Societies: A Comparison of Germany and the United States. Transportation Research Board, 89th Annual Meeting (TRB), 10.-14. Jan. 2010, Washington D.C., USA.

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Abstract

The number of older Americans is predicted to increase significantly over the next 30 years. Germany has already experienced a similar challenge over the last decades: in 2005 the share of population 65 years and older was 20 percent in that country, a share predicted for the U.S. around 2030. Both countries have among the highest motorization rates in the world and almost all adults are licensed drivers. A comparison of the U.S. and Germany can provide important lessons about determinants of travel behavior of the elderly. Using two national travel surveys for each country we trace changes in travel behavior of the elderly between 1982/1983 and 2001/2002 and investigate determinants for differences in travel behavior of the elderly in 2001/2002 through a multivariate statistical analysis. We find that in both countries all groups of society—but most markedly the elderly—are more mobile today than 20 years ago. In both countries, travel behavior of the 45-64 year olds in the early 1980s is a good predictor of travel behavior of the 65+ year olds in 2001. Once travel behavior is adopted, it seems to be carried on into older age. Besides similar trends in each country, we find that elderly Americans make more trips by car than Germans. This difference holds even when controlling for socioeconomic and demographic factors and spatial development patterns. Transport policies can help explain this difference. Compared to the U.S., policies in Germany make car use more expensive and particularly more difficult in cities. At the same time, public policies make cycling and public transportation easy-to-use, cheap, safe, convenient, and accessible transportation alternatives for a less car dependent lifestyle into old age.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Title:Travel Behavior in Ageing Societies: A Comparison of Germany and the United States
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Bühler, RalphSchool of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech
Nobis, Claudiaclaudia.nobis@dlr.de
Date:January 2010
Refereed publication:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:Mobility behavior, ageing societies, elderly people
Event Title:Transportation Research Board, 89th Annual Meeting (TRB)
Event Location:Washington D.C., USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:10.-14. Jan. 2010
Organizer:Transportation Research Board
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:V VR - Verkehrsforschung (old)
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V VR - Verkehrsforschung
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - Systemanalyse (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Transport Research > Passenger Transport
Deposited By: Claudia Nobis
Deposited On:17 Feb 2010 13:50
Last Modified:18 Feb 2010 10:05

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