Open Journal Systems

Accessible transportation and mobility issues of elderly — how does Australia compare with Japan?

Sekhar Somenahalli, Yoshitsugu Hayashi, Michael Taylor, Tetsuo Akiyama, Timothy Adair, Daisuke Sawada

Article ID: 68
Vol 1, Issue 1, 2016, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 355 (Abstract) 278 (PDF)


Accessible transportation is a key aspect of independent living. As the impact of population ageing on future transport systems is expected to be increasingly felt over the next few decades in a number of countries, including Australia and Japan, it is logical to recognise the importance of formulating appropriate transport policies in ageing societies. However, few studies in Australia have focussed on this issue as most of them have been devoted to the physical dimensions of health. This paper is based on a recent survey of older South Australians and a series of in-depth discussions conducted with key stakeholders both in Australia and Japan, conducted by the principal author. This paper highlights the accessible transportation and mobility issues in Australia’s ageing society by shedding light on some of the important policies and laws prevailing in Japan, which have already reached the proportion of the older population that Australia is projected to be 10 years from now. Our findings would provide answers and new approaches into the challenges from a policy and legislative perspective to help formulate recommendations for the stakeholders.


ageing; universal design; transport polices; mobility scooter usage issues; driving licence issues of elderly

Full Text:


Included Database


Alsnih R and Hensher D A, 2003, The mobility and accessibility expectations of seniors in an aging population. Transportation Research Part A, vol.37(10): 903–916.

Hugo G, 2013, Global and regional perspectives: The changing demographics of Australia over the last 30 years. Australasian Journal on Ageing, vol.32(S2): 18–27.

Metz D H, 2000, Mobility of older people and their quality of life. Transport Policy, vol.7(2): 149–152.

Rosenbloom S, 2001, Sustainability and automobility among the elderly: an international assessment. Trans-portation, vol.28(4): 375–408.

Somenahalli S V C and Taylor M A P, 2007, Elderly mobility: issues, opinions and analysis of trip making in Adelaide, Proceedings of the 30th Australasian Transport Research Forum, January 1, 2007: Social Research in Transport (SORT) Clearinghouse, Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, Reflecting a nation: stories from the 2011 Census, 2012–2013, viewed June 21, 2015,

Commonwealth Government of Australia, 2000, A comparison of aged care in Australia and Japan, Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.

AusAid, 2013, Accessibility Design Guide: universal design principles for Australia’s aid program, viewed November 10, 2015,

Mercado R, Páez A, Scott D M, et al. 2007, Transport policy in aging societies: an international comparison and implications for Canada. The Open Transportation Journal, vol.1: 1–13.

Australian Government, Infrastructure Australia, 2013, Infrastructure Australia: urban transport strategy, viewed November 10, 2015,

Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 2008, Improving safety and mobility for older road users in Australia and Japan, viewed November 10, 2015,

Department for Transport Energy and Infrastructure, 2008, Guidelines for disability access in the pedestrian environment, viewed November 10, 2015,

The Allen Consulting Group, 2009, Report to the Minister for infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government: review of the disability standards for accessible public transport, Australia.

Akiyama T, 2005, Japan’s transportation policies for the elderly and disabled, in Paper Presented to the Euro-pean Conference of Ministers of Transport, March 2–3, 2005: Workshop on Implementing Sustainable Urban Travel Policies in Japan and Other Asia-Pacific Countries, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Tokyo.

Nakanishi Y O, 2000, Accessibility plan in Japan, viewed April 15, 2014,

Akiyama T, Kamata M, Wahira Y, et al. 2001, Vehicle accessibility in Japan today and the outlook for the future. IATSS Research, vol.25(1): 42–50.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, 2010, Help cut mobility scooter accidents, viewed November 10, 2015,

Brownsdon A and Marcar C, 2002, Scooter Safe. Use of electric scooters and wheelchairs in the ACT: policy implications and recommendations, Council of the Ageing (Australian Capital Territory), Hughes Community Centre, Canberra, viewed November 10, 2015,

Department for Transport Energy and Infrastructure, 2006, Self-propelled wheelchairs, Government of South Australia, Adelaide.

Johnson M, Rose G. and Oxley J, 2013, Motorised mobility scooters — understanding a growing transport mode for older Australians. Proceedings of the 36th Australasian Transport Research Forum (ATRF), Brisbane, Australia, October 2–4, 2013.

Choice Magazine 2010, Mobility scooter guide, viewed November 10, 2015,

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, NRMA Motoring & Services, Choice, et al. 2012, Mobility scooter usage and safety survey report, viewed September 10, 2015,

Inoi H, Shinya H, Tatuyoshi K, et al. 2013, Safety improvement for mobility scooters using automatic deceleration, Proceedings of the 13th World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 24. National Institute of Technology and Evaluation, 2013, For prevention of accidents caused by electric wheelchair, viewed April 16, 2015,

Toyota begins testing Segway-like Winglet in Japan, n.d., viewed February 19, 2015,

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, Australian social trends, viewed October 25, 2015,

Department for Transport Energy and Infrastructure, 2013, Moving right along: obligations and opportunities for older drivers, viewed November 12, 2015,

Hayashi Y, Fumei G and Takuya T, 2014, Promoting sustainable mobility in metropolitan regions based on the concept of quality of life, Paper presented at TUM Conference.July 15–18, 2013.

(355 Abstract Views, 278 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Sekhar Somenahalli, Yoshitsugu Hayashi, Michael Taylor, Tetsuo Akiyama, Timothy Adair, Daisuke Sawada

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.