Pt. Talks – Guibo Sun, University of Hong Kong

Mittwoch, 11.01.2023

Entrance of a transport station Urheberrecht: © Guibo Sun

Metro and Health of Older People: A Natural Experiment in Hong Kong

Public transport accessible to older people may offer a transformative solution to achieving healthy ageing. However, the evidence to support such transport infrastructure modifications is unclear. Previous studies on public transport use and elderly health were mostly observational studies using cross-sectional data. Few studies have examined the before-and-after effects of a new metro, for example, to see if it improves elderly health.

We use a new metro line in Hong Kong as a natural experiment to examine the impact of the metro-led public transport intervention on elderly health. In Hong Kong, more than 90% of daily travel is made by public transport. The public transport modifications consist of the new metro line with eight stations and changes in the walking environment and bus services around the stations. We will look at the before-and-after differences in public transport use and health outcomes between elderly participants living in treatment neighbourhoods (400 m walking buffered areas of the new metro stations) and in control groups (living in comparable areas but unaffected by the new metro). Questionnaire-based baseline data were collected in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, while some qualitative interviews are ongoing. Amid the pandemic, we conducted a quick telephone-based survey of COVID-19’s potential impact on public transport use behaviours of our elderly cohort in September 2020. After the new metro opened in June 2021, we conducted a follow-up survey in November 2021.

We aim to investigate if the new metro and the associated changes in the built environment affect public transport use behaviours, physical activity and wider health outcomes among the elderly (e.g., social inclusion, quality of life, subjective well-being). The research project collects practice-based evidence to enable future evidence-based planning for healthy ageing cities.

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