How Might Age Affect or Constrain Travel Behaviour

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Tourism Marketing: How Might Age Affect or Constrain Travel Behaviour

Introduction

Travelling behaviour is the study that involves what people do over space, and how they use transport. This study encompasses the number of trips people make, their destinations, the mode they use, who accompanies them, the trips schedule, pattern of the trips, route choices made, and the reason why they travel. The knowledge about the factors that influence people’s travel behaviour is essential in this study.

Travel behaviour is affected by the type of groups that make the travelling, which can be urban form or those affected by lifestyle and demographic influences. The common socio demographic factors that may affect travel behaviour include age, household composition, income, gender, and car ownership.

Modelling travel demand behaviour is a challenge to many researchers. There is need to understand the historical evolution of travelling patterns, and how these patterns respond to changes in circumstances and economic variables, for a better prediction of future travel demand, while at the same time assessing the policy frameworks. Different households’ posses’ different travel patterns which change over the life cycle, from one generation to the next and different spatial and socio economic characteristics\,. The science of transportation has evolved in a big way from the time transportation began, to call for scientific inquiry in the forms of theoretical and empirical determinations of behaviours in travelling. Modelling travel demand defines motive for travelling, as the activities at the destination and their relationship with the activities which are performed while travelling. People enjoy travelling for different reasons such as a sense of speed, motion, control, and enjoyment of panorama (Rosenbloom, 2001).

Effect of Age on Travel Behaviour

Age have astounding effects on travel behaviour, it can be hypothesized that age of a person affects the individuals perception, habits, and expectations about transportation. Different age groups forms cohorts, travelling behaviour of one cohort will be different from the other as they age. Therefore, as a paradigm of cohort, age and time effects influences the effects of motorization and aging on travel behavioural patterns.

A person’s age is a strong determinant on their travelling behaviours, and adults living in age restricted communities make different travel choices, age restricted developments alters the rate of auto use, settings and local amenities changes pedestrian activities, age restricted adult society offers meaningful learning opportunities that can be adapted to induce certain travel behaviours in non age restricted developments.

Elderly People Travel Behaviour

The impact of age on travelling behaviour is ambiguous and calls for empirical evidence. Suggestions of car ownership are lower in youths and the elderly. The elderly tends to walk more often and use public transport more, and if they use a car, they tend to travel shorter distances. The travelling could be motivated by socializing opportunities, especially for non work trips . It is a fact that mobility patterns and the patterns of the activities of the elderly could be  determined by older people’s access to different transportation means, travel habits of the elderly are confronted by difficulty in accessing means of transportation, and the extend of these influences affect the social situation of the elderly.

There is not much description available for the elderly travel attributes and behaviours, especially activity engagement. The socio-demographic variables still influence how the elderly people travel, the most prominent being lifestyle groups  such as workers, mobile widows, granny flats, mobility impaired, affluent males, and disabled drivers. Other factors that might influence elderly travel behaviour are: the role of transport in the economy and everyday life situations, importance of environmental issues, social inclusion, safety, congestion, price, and quality of operations. The modes of different travel options are also to be considered such as overseas experience, ground, air, and sea transport. More factors could be defined as urban and rural differences, and the theory and rehearsal of formal modelling. This specific market segment of elderly people is riddled with many complexities, age’s effect on the expected pattern being a peak during active years, a small decrease towards retirement, a small decrease after retirement, and a small decrease after retirement, then a steady decrease.

Most metropolitan areas have experienced rapid suburbanisation of old people, and the ability to engage in routine activity is an important condition for the maintenance of independent life styles and psychological well being of the elderly suburbanites. The numbers of elderly people have been on the increase in developed countries, and many governments have realized the challenges this trend is posing for the economy, health care, and retirement systems. The impact of aging on travelling behaviour is a recent discovery. Policy makers must face the challenge in the transportation policies; impending retirement of the highly active generation could have tremendous effects on the transportation demands of the older people. The elderly will constitute a larger share of society, which may lead to more active lifestyles with more car trips.

Constraints of the Elderly travel

The effects of socio demographic constraints in the travel choice need an explanation for variations in travel preference, intention, and choice behaviour to various destinations. The aging population provides a lucrative market for leisure and tourism, and the elderly people are considered to be sixty years and over. Some of the constraints are brought about by lack of suitable consumer research, and the factors that contribute to constrain older people can be identified as lack of resources, and lack of social networks that promote travelling. Other constraints can be cited as insufficient money, poor health, lack of companion to travel, not wanting to drive in the night, low energy, disability, and perceptions that they are very old to travel. Other travel barriers individuals’ capabilities, lack of time, and inadequate number of travel suppliers. In some cases families discourage travel for old people, and an apparent guilt within the old people of travelling in their twilight years.

Leisure constraints may give a conceptual framework on the reasons why older people do not engage in certain tourism activities. The leisure constraints can be categorized as intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural constraints. Though, participating in leisure activities is deemed as overcoming these constraints. The individual’s psychological status and characteristics can be described as intrapersonal constraints such as stress, anxiety, attitudes, and self skill. That is, when they fail to develop leisure preferences due to misconceptions of personality, needs, prior socialization, personal abilities, and perceptions associated with group values and norms. The interpersonal limitations come from social associations with friends, family, and other people. While the structural limitations are those factors that prevent people’s intentions from taking actions like economic resources, availability of time, and accessibility. Jackson (1993) identified six dimensions of leisure limitations as social isolation, accessibility, personal reasons, costs, time commitments, and facilities. Vehicle design, long access, poor facilities, and waiting time are other examples of mobility constraints for the elderly. Various needs of elderly people needs to be considered such as difficulties in driving, such as at turns and intersections, insufficient caution and poor positioning of the road, making abrupt stops, failure to stop when needed, and lack of caution at traffic signals.

Travel motivations for Elderly Travel

Seniors travel mainly for purposes of pleasure and rest, and the motivations are varied depending on the elderly backgrounds such as travelling for reasons of nostalgia, cultural experiences, sightseeing, and meeting old pals. The impact of travel on life satisfaction cannot be gain said for the seniors, as leisure has profound effects on their satisfaction with life. Travel is considered as an enriching experience with benefits such as routine changes, opportunity to garner new experience. Travel motivations to make tourists travel and select destinations are energizers to demand that promote a person to decide to take a holiday. Ryan (1991) identified tourists travel motivations as wish fulfilment, shopping, rest and relaxation, opportunity to play, social interaction, escaping unfriendly environment, prestige, strengthening family bonds, and educational opportunities. The table below gives the factor analysis of travel motivations of

Taiwanese people

Overcoming Travel Constraints

Some of the recommendations to accommodate elderly driving are measures to accommodate older driver visual, mental, and physical declines. More bigger and brighter traffic signs should be installed, brighter pavement markings, overhead placement of signage, advanced warnings of hot spot locations, and increased road lighting. Mental declines can be accommodated by redundant signing, advance preview distance at intersections, reduction on amount of information to be processed and increased perception reaction time in design and operations. Physical declines can be accommodated by enlarging turn radii, parallel entrance ramp, and lengthening acceleration lanes.

The changes in travelling behaviour occurs frequently, new opportunities like  park and ride increases in road capacities, reduction in public transport  fares, motoring costs, provision of soft measures such as travel plans and information. More consumer research should be conducted with the aim of negating reasons for not travelling and providing necessary information that can encourage travel. Provision of equipments and other amenities to promote leisure activities among the elderly such as social networks. Advocacy campaigns to remove any negative perceptions that the elderly persons may harbour. The elderly shows a  bigger tolerance for bus and walking, therefore, implementation of new modes of transi.............


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