Will Ride-Hailing Enhance Mobility for Older Adults? A California Survey

Ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber offer a potential mobility option for the growing numbers of aging Californians who risk social and economic isolation if they cannot drive for health or financial reasons. They could also serve older adults who currently have mobility options but would prefer a ride-hailing alternative for at least some trips.

This study addressed whether and how older Californians use ride-hailing, as well as the potential of this travel mode to meet the needs of older adults now and in the coming decade. An online survey was completed by 2,917 California adults aged 55 and older. This age range was chosen to include both current seniors (age 65 and older) and individuals who will soon be entering that age group (age 55 to 64).

The survey explored whether older Californians who have access to the internet used ride-hailing, how comfortable they were with ride-hailing service features that might present barriers to usage, whether they would value potential new ride-hailing service features designed to improve safety, accessibility, and payment options, and what reasons (if any) they saw to use ride-hailing. We also collected data on various factors hypothesized to influence ride-hailing use and behaviors, such as use of the internet and online banking.

Key survey findings indicated that 44% of respondents 65 years old and older had experienced ride-hailing and 27% had booked a ride themselves via phone or using the app. Also, the potential new ride-hailing service features that appealed to large numbers of today’s and tomorrow’s seniors include having a driver trained to help older passengers and the option to pay with a ride-hailing card that is not linked to a bank account or credit card.

Results also indicated that there were fewer large variations by personal characteristics than we anticipated would influence ride- hailing behavior and attitudes, such as gender, age, and regular use of technology. However, there were some clear differences by population subgroups, most noticeably by income, education, community type (e.g., urban vs. rural), and use of public transit.

University: 

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University

Principal Investigator: 

Asha W. Agrawal, Ph.D.

PI Contact Information: 

Mineta Transportation Institute
San José State University
210 N. 4th St., 4th Floor
San Jose, CA 95112
asha.weinstein.agrawal@sjsu.edu

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): 

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology – $73,428

Total Project Cost: 

$73,428

Agency ID or Contract Number: 

69A3551747127

Dates: 

September 2018 to September 2020

Project Number: 

1815