Exploring public transport as an element of older persons' mobility: A Capability Approach perspective

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - urban density, place - europe, ridership - mode choice, ridership - old people, ridership - perceptions, ridership - young people


Older persons, Mobility resources, Mobility opportunities, Public transport, Capability Approach, Young-old


This study employs Amartya Sen's Capability Approach as a guiding conceptual framework in the exploration of public transport as an element of mobility among the young-old living in Stockholm, Sweden. The aim is to shed light on the variation in mobility resources of those who perceive they can use public transport as their primary mode of transport and of those who perceive they cannot (‘mobility capability element’), as well as that of those using public transport and of those not using it (‘mobility functioning element’). Increasing residential density, being female and having a higher functional capacity were among the mobility resources which produced a positive increase in the likelihood of considering it possible to use, and the use of, public transport. The higher the ratio of cars to household member, the lower the likelihood of including public transport as a mobility capability element or as a mobility functioning element. Most of those who included public transport use as both a mobility capability element and a mobility functioning element were also users of the private car. There was also a tendency towards car use rather than towards no travel if the individual was not a user of public transport. Through the application of the Capability Approach, this paper facilitates further insight into the variation in mobility resources, corresponding mobility capability and mobility functioning elements of this group, with respect to public transport. It also opens up questions for the future employment of this conceptual framework within transport research.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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