טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentDombrowski Daliah
SubjectSocial Activity-Travel Behaviour and Mobility Patterns
of Older Adults
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Pnina Plaut
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

This study explores the intersection of two new and current frontiers in research -  the greying of society and the social embeddedness of travel behaviour.  On a global scale, new cohorts of older adults are gaining importance in defining the future of transportation as their lifestyles diverge from their predecessors. This study also examines activity-travel behaviour analysis, contending that it is incomplete without understanding its social dimension. The exponential change in social structures and the advance in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), has opened the possibility for new forms of social interaction to emerge.

The aim of this study is to gain insight on the relationships among social networks, mobility patterns and travel behaviour of older adults through exploratory research. At the centre of this research stands the analysis of a survey spanning a wide range of topics surrounding various aspects of mobility and the social spheres of study participants. Supplementary to the traditional factors focused on in research of activity-travel behaviour, this survey explores unmet activity and travel needs, the use of ICT, social network characteristics, social influence and socio-spatial integration. In addition, in-depth insights on trip, scheduling and fellow participants are provided on a recent out-of-home social episode in the life of the participant. The sample includes 114 participants aged 65 without significant physical health limitations residing in Tel Aviv-Yafo. The survey analysis performed is characterized by its predominantly quantitative nature, while emphasizing selected qualitative aspects of mobility and the social sphere of older adults in Tel Aviv-Yafo.

The study finds that participation frequency for out-of-home social meetups and visits is influenced by social network variables including network composition, network size and the perception of social belonging. In addition, the findings show that the three social episode types examined (family-, friends- & organized meetups) exhibit different trip and scheduling characteristics. These findings support the growing realization that a greater importance must be placed on social networks in mobility research. The study also emphasizes the roles of two prominent trip modes - the car and walking. The sample showed that 90% of car owners will use it for social meetups and visits, while also exposing gender inequalities in car ownership, especially for single households. However, owning a car is not associated with higher participation frequencies for social meetups and visits. Walking proves to be a major mode of transport, especially for maintenance and leisure trip purposes. The majority of those who opt for walking live in relatively walkable environments. This underlines the importance of treating walking as a real transport mode.

The study aims to aid and inform policy and academic discourse on the mobility of the rapidly growing older adult population in Israel. By characterizing a socially active sample, this study underlines the importance of considering older adults as an influential element of future mobility demand. Furthermore, this study serves as a base for better understanding the place of social networks in mobility research.