SEBEM - Socio-Economic Benefits of good Elderly Mobility

Project: ResearchInterdisciplinary research

Research areas and keywords


  • transport innovation, Social innovations, health


SEBEM-GIS provided new evidence to inform the current debate and practice in the area of public transport planning for older travelers. The specific aims of the original proposal were:
1. To investigate the relation between accessibility and self-reported health and patterns of public bus transport use among older people;
2. To assess the validity of “self-reported bus stop distance” as an objective measure of accessibility to the service;
3. To create a preliminary GIS-based planning model able to correlate demand-density indicators (e.g. number of older people living in the area) and the actual availability, usage and performance of flexible public transport options.
We have produced a scientific output for the two first research aims and a draft “practical” report for the third aim.
The first output has been the analysis of the impact of objectively measured accessibility to public bus stops and health. The results strengthened the findings already published in a previous article (SEBEM project, Chiatti et al., 2017). This first analysis has been delivered and discussed among research group members, and presented within a seminar held at the K2 premises in Lund on February 2019, 28th. We are currently transforming the draft report and presentation into a paper for submission to a scientific journal.
The second output has been the methodological analysis of how older persons perception of walking distance (to stops) is associated to their personal and health characteristics. This research outcome contributes to the scientific debate on travelers’ perception and how this affects the use of public transport. The results were also included in an article, currently submitted for publication to the journal “Transport Policy” ("How far is the closest bus stop?" An evaluation of factors influencing the perception of distance to the bus stops among older people. Results from the SEBEM-GIS project in Sweden).
With regard to the third research aim, a parallel feasibility study was implemented to develop a planning model/method to correlate demand-density and the availability and performance of public mobility options. This work included a GIS-approach to establish demand density in urban areas and collection of usage and performance data from a number of public transport agencies in Sweden that provide mobility services for older persons. While preliminary findings and results already have been used in two practical planning cases (Västerås and Södermanland) the report is only available in a draft form and will be delivered before an upcoming public seminar at K2 in September 2019. The limited study need to be followed up with greater statistical input from more cases and consideration of more parameters, e.g. car-ownership in this target group.

Layman's description

SEBEM-GIS project provides new evidence in the area of public transport planning, showing how the (older) user’s perception of distance to the system may be influenced by their health and socio-economic characteristics.
Previous research showed that living closer to bus stops could be a factor promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. However, most of the studies relies on self-reported measures of distance, which might be biased by several confounders. Therefore, in this research project self- reported distances among study participants were compared to the actual ones, exactly computed using routing algorithms. We found that several variables including older age, female gender, living alone and worse health status are associated with an over-estimation of bus stop distance. People who use public transport daily and are satisfied with the walking opportunities of the neighborhood tend to underestimate bus stop distances. From a policy perspective the results are useful for planning of transport services, showing that multiple factors (e.g. targeted communication campaigns and/or restyle for improving accessibility of the neighborhoods) could be addressed to promote a wider use of public transport among older people, ultimately supporting active and healthy lifestyles. In parallel, during the project we realized a feasibility study with the aim to develop an analytical GIS-based model/method to plan and operate flexible mobility services attractive for the older travelers and, at the same time, efficient and financially sustainable over the long term. A new planning indicator, demand density, has been defined and tested in several municipalities. An attempt has been made to correlate this indicator to usage and performance of actual mobility services. The indicator has been considered useful for planning purposes and potentially it could be tested as an indicator for cost-efficiency of the transport supply in the future. The preliminary results of this study has already been put to practical use in actual planning cases (in Västerås and Södermanland). The feasibility study could be further developed to verify the preliminary findings and to establish a more complete planning model.
Short titleSEBEM-GIS
Effective start/end date2018/01/01 → …