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Go-along interview

How do older people access public transport in high-density cities?

Understanding the concerns and walking barriers through their lens

"I do not want to reach the destination so quickly when travelling by bus. So, I will get off the bus at places being a little far away from the destination and then walk to the destination. In this way, I can have a little more exercise. I have little other daily exercises, and I can have an amount of about one hour of exercise if I make my travel in this way. I believe this will make me live longer."

          - A quote from a 72 years participant

In high-density cities, especially those in Asia, seek to provide better public transport to sustain their built environments. Many, such as Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, turn to massive transit railway, the metro. However, concerns and walking barriers for older people when using public transport may determine how they choose between metro and public bus. Without such understanding, the cities might undermine their public transport provisions for the rapid increased ageing population.

We use the go-along method to understand the concerns, walking barriers, and areas of improvement when older people use public transport in high-density cities. The go-along interview is a mobile method to understand interactions between individuals and the environment, enhancing the contextual basis of qualitative research. It allows us to explore relationships between older people and the walking environment approaching public transport in an interactive manner. For example, older people could explain and demonstrate why they struggled to negotiate particular environment details instead of describing stairs as generally problematic. Older people are exposed to the immediate environment, which can trigger a discussion about the influence on their walking experiences when accessing public transport. Participants could discuss issues or ideas for which they are immediately aware. They are likely to share experiences about a topic that mattered to them.

Our innovative go-along interviews obtained detailed and context-specific information about walking in public transport use, which grounds our findings in place and from views of older people in high-density cities.

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How to cite:

G. Sun, C. Lau (2021). Go-along with older people to public transport in high-density cities: Understanding the concerns and walking barriers through their lens. Journal of Transport & Health, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2021.101072

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