Health, accessibility and public transport: policies at the service of the elderly

May 2019

- October 2021


Social development

The initiative

HAPPY intends to identify transport and mobility policies that can improve life for the elderly (over 65s), helping them to move more freely within urban settings, and travel for health treatment (medical and healthcare facilities) and their social life (recreational services).

The specific solutions identified in the project can provide support to public decision-makers, by promoting active mobility (travelling on foot, by bike and on public transport), thus helping elderly people keep healthy and fit, and avoid the negative effects of staying at home and social isolation.

Another unfavourable factor is linked to the restrictions caused by the current Covid-19 situation, which has dramatically changed travel habits among the older population in particular.

 The Geography of Older Adults’ Accessibility to Health Services in Italy

The role of the Foundation

Fondazione Politecnico di Milano is working on the project with Politecnico di Milano

Technical details

HAPPY – Health, Accessibility, Public transport Policies for the elderly – is financed by Fondazione Cariplo with further funds for projects on scientific research and technological transfer within the call for Scientific Research 2018 “Social research on ageing: people, places and relationships”.

The study looks at the topic of an ageing population, and analyses the conditions whereby active mobility and social inclusion become factors of success in maintaining good mental and physical health among the elderly, focusing on the provinces of Varese, Milan and Padua.

Concentrating on welfare sites (medical and public recreation facilities), the project make suggestions for transport policies that can improve mobility for senior people, with positive outcomes on their participation in social life.

First results

Based on data from ISTAT (the Italian National Institute of Statistics), the project mapped the geolocation of healthcare facilities in relation to the distribution of the elderly population in Italy. The project undertook a review of literature on mobility policies targeting the third age, and investigated the relationship between how frequently people travel using public transport or their own car and their health status.

A survey was carried out in several areas of Varese, Milan and Padua to study mobility, health and other aspects of daily life among the over 65s in the light of Covid-19.

Financial supporters