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Transport, driving and ageing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 June 2015

Desmond O’Neill*
Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Address for correspondence: Professor Desmond O’Neill, Professor in Medical Gerontology, Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Email:


Transport is the invisible glue that holds our lives together, an under-recognized contributor to economic, social and personal well-being. In public health terms, the medical profession had previously allowed itself to focus almost exclusively on the downsides of transport. However, the research basis for transport, driving and ageing is steadily evolving and has important academic and practical considerations for gerontologists and geriatricians. For gerontologists, teasing out the critical role of transport in the health and well-being of older people is an imperative, as well as the key challenges inherent in transitioning from driving to not driving. The safe crash record of a group with significant multi-morbidity allows us to focus on the remarkable strategic and adaptive skills of older people. From a policy perspective, strictures on older drivers are an exemplar of institutionalized ageism. For geriatricians, a key challenge is to develop strategies for including transportation in our clinical assessments, formulating effective strategies for assessment of medical fitness to drive, incorporating enabling techniques, giving due consideration to ethical and legal aspects, and developing and promoting multi-modality and alternative transportation options.

Review Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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