We updated our earlier study of older people’s travel patterns using the 1997/98 New Zealand Household Travel Survey (NZHTS) with a comparative analysis using the recently compiled 2004–07 Ongoing NZHTS database (ONZHTS).
We found that older people (60+) travelled distinctively less than the general adult population (aged 25–59), whether one looked at the total or mean number of trip segments per day, the typical distance per trip segment, mean distance per day using ‘surface transport’ or mean distance per day driven. The total number and mean number of trip segments and distances travelled declined steadily across the age groups (25–59, 60–64, 65–74 and 75+).
Between 1997/98 and 2004–07, older people as a group increased their volume of travel considerably, especially their driver trips (from 174.5 million per year to 364 million) and distance driven (from 1040 million km to 2500 million km). Older drivers (60+) formed a significantly higher proportion of the vehicle traffic stream (18% compared with 15%) in 2004–07. As the mean distance driven per day per person did not change significantly for older drivers, the increased share of the traffic stream appeared to result from the greater number of older drivers in particular.