Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Steven Polzin, Ph.D.


Elderly mobility, Driving cessation, Elderly travel behavior, Transportation policy, Transportation planning


The projected growth of persons ages 65 and older in the U.S. over the next few decades will usher in an era of unprecedented numbers of seniors licensed to drive. For some members of this group, there will come a time where driving will have to cease due to a variety of factors. At that juncture in their lives, these seniors may have to consider transportation alternatives other than the personally operated vehicle. The objective of this study is to evaluate potential changes in transit market share arising from travel behavior changes of seniors who lose their driving privileges. This includes determining seniors interest in, ability to, and subsequent use of public transit. First, a literature review of developments that have impacted senior travel behavior is presented. Developments such as the changing demographics of seniors, senior socio-economic status, the process of driving retirement, and factors influencing transit use by seniors are presented.

Estimates of the numbers of licensed and former drivers are derived for the year 2030 using several methodological approaches. Trip rates are applied to the predicted non-driving population to derive estimates of the potential demand for transit and subsequent market share. Discussion of the estimated market share results also incorporates a descriptive overview of senior travel behavior as derived from analyses of publicly available datasets followed by focus group results illustrating the experiences of seniors and their transportation choices.Recommendations range from transit agencies engaging in direct "generational" marketing to seniors in order to understand their transportation needs as well as perceptions about transit, promoting the use of transit, and demonstrating the viability of transit for specific trip purposes and partner with rideshare providers.

Despite the predicted increase in transit market shares attributable to the senior population, transit providers have extensive work to do to change the perceptions of transit service provision and subsequently encourage the use of such services by senior populations in forthcoming generations if transit is to become a viable transportation alternative for those seniors ceasing to drive.