Transportation modes and social participation in older drivers and non-drivers: Results from urbanised Japanese cities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bike, mode - bus, mode - car, mode - pedestrian, mode - rail, ridership - old people


transportation mode, social participation, older adults


Age-related changes contribute to shifting transportation modes, which affects participation in social activities. Driving status has been highlighted in this context, but there is less evidence on the differences in transportation modes regarding how conducive they are to social participation between drivers and non-drivers. This study examined the relationship between transportation modes and social participation among older adults. The participants were 17,364 older adults aged 65–84 years living in Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan, which are urbanised cities with well-developed public transportation systems. We obtained data on transportation modes used at least once per week, including walking, cycling, car use as a driver, car use as a passenger, train use, and bus use. Social participation was defined as participation in the following social groups at least once per month: public social activities (i.e. neighbourhood associations and senior clubs) and private social activities (i.e. volunteering, sports, and hobbies). We performed a logistic regression analysis and included product terms between driving status (drivers or non-drivers) and other modes of transportation. Subgroup analyses were conducted regardless of the significance of the product term, as they would yield valuable information. There was a significant relationship of the product term between driving status and cycling with participation in private social activities; cycling was associated with 30% (95% CI: 1.12, 1.51) higher odds in drivers and 68% (1.52, 1.85) higher odds of participation in those activities in non-drivers. For both driving statuses, cycling was associated with higher odds of participation in public social activities, and train and bus use showed higher odds of participation in private social activities. These results suggest that cycling and public transportation use are crucial for participation in social activities among both older drivers and non-drivers living in urbanised cities, and the importance of cycling may be emphasised in nondrivers. Our findings would help the transportation, urban planning, and public health sectors develop plans to encourage older adults to participate in social activities.


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


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