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Yao Du

PhD student |


"My research interests focus on public transport and urban redevelopment and their health impact on older people in Hong Kong. Before starting a doctoral degree, I had three-year working experience as a research assistant in sociology and housing studies."

Current Research

Yao's thesis investigates causal links between public transport changes and older adults' travel behavior, social engagement, and well-being. Older people face mobility challenges, so transport modifications can impact accessibility, social connections, and well-being. She explores how interventions shape travel adaptation and how psycho-social and environmental factors mediate behavior change impacting well-being.

She applies mixed qualitative/quantitative methods using a natural experiment to compare pre/post-transport intervention differences in older adults' mobility and health. In-depth interviews aid in understanding the behavior adaptation process and pathways from changes to subjective well-being. Findings can help policy support age-friendly, healthy aging by supporting older adults' transport needs.

Selected Publications

Du, Y., Sun, G., Choe, E. Y., & Kwan, M. P. (2022). Mediation effects of social isolation on pathways connecting public transport use with subjective wellbeing among older people. Journal of Transport & Health, 25, 101378.

Du, Y., Sun, G., & Kwan, M. P. (2022). Transit-oriented development for older people: Does using multiple public transport options improve their physical and mental health?. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 15(1), 729-753.

Sun, G., & Du, Y. (2023). New metro and subjective wellbeing among older people: A natural experiment in Hong Kong. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 169, 103592.

Choe, E. Y., Du, Y., & Sun, G. (2022). Decline in older adults’ daily mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic: the role of individual and built environment factors. BMC Public Health, 22(1), 1-10.

Sun, G., Du, Y., Ni, M. Y., Zhao, J., & Webster, C. (2021). Metro and elderly health in Hong Kong: protocol for a natural experiment study in a high-density city. BMJ open, 11(3), e043983.

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