Older people 'travel the most'
Published on 19 December 2012 11:30 AM
Older people make more journeys than any other age group, according to a new study.
While stereotypes may endure of home-loving older people and mobile youngsters, the figures from the latest National Travel Survey suggest that actually the reverse may be true, with older people getting out and about more often than their juniors.
People aged in their 60s on average make more journeys than people aged in their 20s, the study showed.
It also revealed a particularly significant increase over the past three years in the number of car journeys made by older people.
There has been a twin trend of older people making more trips - perhaps due to increased car ownership and perks such as free bus travel - and younger people travelling less often, perhaps due to increasing transport costs.
Another possible factor is that younger age groups are increasingly socialising online as opposed to in person.
It marks an about-turn from 2009's survey, which showed that sixtysomethings were making a below-average number of journeys while twentysomethings made more trips than the average.
The same survey's findings in 2011 show the reverse to be true, with those aged 60-69 taking 1,000 trips a year - well over the average number - while people aged 21-29 took slightly fewer journeys than the average.
Older people more likely to be driving than 10 years ago
Professor Peter Jones of University College London, who has carried out a long-term analysis of the National Travel Survey, discovered that men across most age groups covered significantly fewer miles in their cars in the decade to 2007 compared to men in the same age group 10 years earlier.
However, two age groups were exceptions to the rule - people aged 60-69 and those age 70 and over - where there was actually a significant increase in the number of miles covered by car.
There was an increase in car mileage among women of all age groups, but women in their 60s showed the biggest increase.
Chris Yewlett, lecturer in transport and planning at Cardiff University, pointed out that the people who moved into the older age groups most recently are more likely to hold driving licences than those who are 10 years older.
'Now we're getting people who were part of the generation brought up with the idea of driving. It's not surprising that they go on driving cars when they get older,' he explained.
He added that improvements in health also mean that people are now able to carry on driving for longer.
The survey includes journeys on foot, by bicycle and on trains and buses in its definition of trips.
In every age group, the car was the most common form of travel.