Equity implications of COVID-19 on older adults’ mobility: Evidence and examples from South Asia

Shaila Jamal, Nikhil Menon, K. Bruce Newbold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


While older adults’ mobility has been explored in great depth in the developed world, this is not the case with South Asia. Additionally, findings from the developed world cannot simply be transferred into the South Asian context due to the existence of differences in mobility patterns and motivations for mobility among multiple dimensions. Adding to this is the global health pandemic and its disproportionate impact on the older demographic. Evidence from the early stages of the pandemic demonstrated how externalities were further exacerbated and clearly showed equity implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults’ mobility. The chapter presents a conceptual framework summarizing the main determinants of older adults’ mobility in South Asia, and then discusses how these determinants could possibly have impacted mobility during the pandemic. The main determinants/influences can be grouped into three main categories: (i) individual and household-level demographics, (ii) personal and cultural factors, and (iii) transportation and mobility factors. Each of the identified categories profoundly influenced older adults’ mobility; therefore, an understanding of this phenomenon from a multidimensional perspective will provide valuable insights for researchers and policy-/decision-makers as they navigate through these situations in a post-pandemic world. The chapter also investigates the implications of COVID-19 on older adults’ mobility and identifies four interrelated areas with equity implications: (i) sedentary lifestyles and physical inactivity, (ii) loss of social connections and well-being, (iii) digital literacy and mobility, and (iv) unmet needs and modal shift. We conclude by addressing potential research directions on the mobility of older adults in South Asia specific to COVID-19 implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPart 2
Subtitle of host publicationWider Transport and Land Use Impacts of COVID-19
EditorsVeronique Van Acker, Veronique Van Acker, Sangho Choo, Patricia L. Mokhtarian
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)9780443237263
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Transport Policy and Planning
ISSN (Print)2543-0009
ISSN (Electronic)2542-9116

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Transportation

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