What impact does the Corona pandemic have on elderly’s daily travel?2020-06-03
How do the elderly travel before, during and after the Corona pandemic, and what consequences does it have for energy efficient and sustainable travel? Researchers at CTF, Service Research Center at Karlstad University, will study this in an ongoing project which now receives additional funding from the Swedish Energy Agency. The project is carried out in collaboration with actors in the Nordic countries and will be completed in 2022.
The research project "Potential for energy efficient travel in an aging population" receives an additional 1.4 million SEK from the Swedish Energy Agency, and one additional year’s extension, to study how the current Corona pandemic is affecting the elderly’s daily travel.
"Our society is designed so that daily travel has a central role. However, we currently have a unique situation with strong recommendations for limited social interaction and reduced travel. An especially important and vulnerable group are the elderly. Studying the short and long-term effects of elderly travelers during, and after, the ongoing pandemic can give us unique knowledge in the future," says project manager Lars E. Olsson, Professor of Psychology.
The link between travel, perceived accessibility and well-being
The researchers will look at how the elderly have changed their travel habits, how this is experienced, and what significance the travel has for wellbeing and the opportunity to live the life they want to. The researchers will also look at how older people can be motivated to travel more energy-efficient in the future and what conditions are necessary for older people to replace their everyday travel by car with more environmentally sustainable transport.
New data collections in the form of interviews and questionnaires have started, and will continue throughout this year in Bergen, Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm. These will then be followed-up in the next coming years when the situation in the world hopefully will be different and with reduced restrictions.
"The data that is collected now will be compared with similar data collected in the five cities before the outbreak of the pandemic. This allows us to analyze the significance of different factors during different phases of the pandemic."
"Today we see that the group of older people, over the age of 65, is generally healthier and more mobile compared to previous generations. There is however still insufficient knowledge to assess the potential for more sustainable travel among the elderly, knowledge that is necessary to be able to influence a possible change of travel habits and to develop attractive alternatives to one's own car. The extended project budget gives us the opportunity to study what role the pandemic may have for current and future travel," concludes Lars E. Olsson.
The project, which was launched in October 2018, now has a total budget of just over 6 million SEK. It is carried out in collaboration with the European network BEST, Benchmarking in European Service of Public Transport, in cooperation with actors in Bergen, Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Stockholm. Additional researchers in the project are Professor Margareta Friman and Postdoc Katrin Lättman at CTF.