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Transport and Mobility

This Special interest Group brings together academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines with a common interest in researching and communicating knowledge about mobility in its broadest sense.

BSG Special Interest Group on Transport and Mobility: Symposium and group meeting

Please contact Ben Spencer for an invite to the session. 
9:00 - 11:00, Thursday 2nd July, 2020

9.00-10.15 Symposium - the impact of COVID-19 on mobility

The recording of this session is now available to view on our Ageing Bites channel.

Setting the scene - Charles Musselwhite

This paper looks at how our highly connected, hypermobile society contributes to the spread of disease and the consequences of lockdown on curtailing such hypermobility might have on life, for work and also for fulfilling everyday duties, getting shopping in and seeing friends and family within the context of an ageing society. Who knows at the moment how long lockdowns will be for in many countries, and further what effect it will have on changing our mobility patterns forever. Will we want to connect to local communities more than those far away, will we notice and enjoy cleaner air from less pollution in reduction in transport movement and want to sustain this afterwards? But, given the benefits of mobility are not distributed equally, the disbenefits of mobility lock-down are likely to be faced differently by different populations; which older people feel more isolated and lonely and which will be able to connect more with their local communities. If we are to face increasing threat from viruses we need to have strong social and local economic capital in strong local communities and neighbourhoods to support one another without recourse to hypermobility. Perhaps a move to a more sustainable hypomobile practice is desired, a slow mobility focus, with more localised active mobility.


  • Ian Shergold - new technologies
  • Ben Spencer - cycling
  • Rose Gilroy - built environment

Open discussion - we welcome your perspectives and experiences


10.30-11.00 Group meeting - Special Interest Group on Transport and Mobility

All welcome   




In the last decade the mobile turn in the social sciences has emphasised that transport is more than moving from A to B and in gerontological terms there is increased recognition of the importance of mobility, in its many forms, for older people's health and wellbeing. There is a need to ensure mobility for older people to keep connected to communities, reduce isolation and loneliness and encourage independence and ageing well.

The group is run by Charles Musselwhite and Ben Spencer. It includes a mix of BSG members and non-members from Universities in the UK and beyond, policy and research think tanks and government. Please contact us if you would like to join our email list.

The Special Interest Group has organised the following:

One-day seminar: Later life mobility - From home to neighbourhood and community

Friday 21 April 2017 Oxford Brookes University

This included Gordon Stokes, University of Oxford, Transport Studies Unit speaking on Age and generational effects in travel behaviour and Catharine Ward Thompson, University of Edinburgh, OPENspace Research Centre on Habitats for active ageing: age-friendly place-making.

In the afternoon we travelled to the eastern edge of Oxford to meet colleagues from Oxfordshire County Council Public Health and developers Grosvenor Estates and discuss how the design of the new Barton Park development enhanced older people’s mobility.

Symposium, BSG Annual Conference 2017: Special Interest Group on Transport and Mobility

Friday 7 July 2017 Swansea University

This session included:

Charles Musselwhite, Swansea University: 7 things working with older people and transport & mobility has taught me Wakana Hara, Japan Women’s University and Oxford Brookes University: how older people find their way in residential areas of UK and Japan Carol Holland, Aston University: Mobility and depression and the influence of an accessible environment

Tanya Wilkins, Oxford University:  Why synthesise research? Creating sustainable cities and urban areas in an ageing world David Sinclair, International Longevity Centre UK: A vision for the future of mobility in an ageing society

We are seeking further funding to run one-day seminars and symposia and aim to respond collaboratively to policy initiatives and research calls. Please get in touch if you have any suggestions for events or initiatives – we look forward to hearing from you.