New metro and subjective wellbeing among older people: A natural experiment in Hong Kong


Guibo Sun
Yao Du

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, ridership - old people, mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, infrastructure - station, planning - surveys, planning - methods


Subjective wellbeing, older ages, metro


Research into transport and subjective wellbeing impacts at older ages is at an early stage. It is still unclear whether the transport intervention (e.g., new transport infrastructure) can effectively promote older people’s subjective wellbeing, and if so, through what pathways. This paper provided causal inference on the effects of public transport infrastructure on evaluative, hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing among older adults using a natural experiment of a new metro line in Hong Kong. A longitudinal survey of 449 cohort participants was collected before and after the new metro operation. Treatment groups lived within a 400 m walking buffer of the new metro stations, while control groups were located around comparable stations on existing metro lines. These metro lines were planned at the same time using similar principles, but the intervention line was built later due to difficulties in financial models. Our Difference-in-Difference (DID) modelling results suggested that it might be difficult to delineate a direct pathway from public transport infrastructure provision to subjective wellbeing improvement among older people. The causal linkage was more plausible for the new metro could contribute to the subjective wellbeing only if older people can adapt to it; for those who wanted to maintain or increase bus use after the metro intervention, we found a negative association with better subjective wellbeing. Our natural experiment study provides practice-based evidence for transport planning and healthy ageing policies.


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


Transportation Research Part A Home Page: