Life-space Mobility and Aging in Place

Research on older adults explores the notion of “aging in place”—providing older adults the opportunity to continue to occupy familiar surroundings, to live in their own homes and communities. But oftentimes one’s ability to stay or leave, particularly in old age, depends on the built environment. Mobility is the ability to meet the basic needs to access goods, activities, services, and social interactions as they relate to quality of life (Mollenkopf, 2005). Thus, mobility is essential to older adults due to their limited, or gradually reducing, physical and cognitive abilities. In transportation research, mobility is often regarded in terms of travel behavior and it is measured by the number of outside-home travel. However, in other fields, including public health, it refers to the relative ease and freedom of movement in all of its forms (Satariano et al., 2012). This study intends to broaden the understanding of the environmental factors on older adults’ mobility in different life-spaces, from one’s bedroom to sidewalk, from home to a final destination via walking, public transit and/ or driving. The project will document and examine 1) the ways in which older adults talk about, understand, and make meaning of their experiences and conditions related to life-space mobility and, 2) how these frames of reference guide their ability to be able to age in place. To achieve these aims, the project will develop a life-space mobility assessment tool and conduct semi-structured interviews with 25 older adults who have participated in home accessibility modification programs in United States (U.S.) Western region. Given that interviewees already have engage in some level of self-determination to improve their lives at home, we are interested in their life-space mobility and which opportunities they might see to improve their auto-sufficiency. This work will provide both a basis and springboard for studying further geographies and discussion about policy initiatives to effectively and equitably address growing mobility disparities.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $219481
  • Contract Numbers:

    NITC 1109

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    TREC at Portland State University

    1900 SW Fourth Ave, Suite 175
    P.O. Box 751
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
  • Project Managers:

    Hagedorn, Hau

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City

    City & Metropolitan Planning
    201 South Presidents Circle
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112

    Portland State University

    Institute on Aging
    506 SW Mill Street, Suite 470
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
  • Principal Investigators:

    Garcia Zambrana, Ivis

    Diaz Moore, Keith

    DeLaTorre, Alan

  • Start Date: 20170901
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190530
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01641374
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Transportation and Communities
  • Contract Numbers: NITC 1109
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 20 2017 7:17PM