Access to public mobility services and health in old age: a cross-sectional study in three Swedish cities

Carlos Chiatti, Yngve Westerlund, Agneta Ståhl. Journal of Transport and Health, Vol. 7, 2018


Little evidence is available on how public transport features can impact on older people's health. The overarching aim of this paper is to evaluate socio-demographic, health and mobility-related factors correlated with health-related quality of life among people aged between 75 to 90 years old in three Swedish Municipalities.


Within the SEBEM study, a cross-sectional survey using a self-administered postal questionnaire was conducted among 2398 older people aged between 75 and 90 years. Primary outcome of the study was health-related quality of life measured using the SF12 which distinguishes two dimensions of health, i.e. the Physical Composite Score (PCS) and the Mental Component Score (MCS). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the variability study outcomes. Multilevel regression models were used to investigate factors independently correlated with health, controlling for the influence of potential confounders.


Higher physical and mental self-reported health is associated with walking more than 500 m on a daily basis, use of a private car and frequent engagement in social activities. Access to the car is only associated with physical health. Mental health scores are significantly lower among those living far from the closest bus stop and never using public transport.


We provide evidence of epidemiological associations between access to public mobility services and good health in older age. Given the cross-sectional design of our analyses, and the related limitations, the associations found should be investigated more thoroughly by future studies using longitudinal and/or experimental designs.

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