PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 293-303.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.02.010

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Seasonal and spatiotemporal differences in the public transport-based mobility of elderly population: A case study of Wuhu City in Anhui Province

LI Zhixuan1,2, ZHEN Feng1,2,*(), ZHANG Shanqi1,2, YANG Yu3   

  1. 1. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
    2. Provincial Engineering Laboratory of Smart City Design Simulation & Visualization, Nanjing 210093, China;
    3. Yakka System & Technology (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd, Nanjing 210046, China;
  • Received:2020-03-23 Revised:2020-07-18 Online:2021-02-28 Published:2021-04-28
  • Contact: ZHEN Feng
  • Supported by:
    Key Project of National Social Science Foundation of China, No(20AZD040);China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, No(2019M651784);Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities


Mobility is an important factor that influences the quality of life of elderly population. Improving the mobility of the elderly is an important means to prolong their independent living time and thereby reduce the cost of elderly care of the society. Public transport is the most important transportation mode for the Chinese elderly population when they travel for a long distance. Despite many studies focusing on the elderly's mobility through walking, insufficient attention has been paid to the public transport-based mobility. This study took Wuhu City as the study area and examined the pattern of the elderly's public transport-based mobility using smart card data. In particular, three parameters—movement radius, movement frequency, and movement entropy—were first used to quantify elderly's public transport-based mobility. Spatial autocorrelation methods were applied to analyze how elderly's public transport-based mobility patterns are spatially aggregated in different seasons and how the patterns vary under seasonal changes. The results show that: 1) Elderly's public transport-based mobility shows an obvious spatial aggregation pattern. The clusters are circularly distributed across the city, with the city center, the periphery of the city center, and the edge of the city showing different aggregation characteristics. Specifically, the radius of movement shows a crossed distribution of cold spots and hot spots from the city center to the outskirts of the city; the movement frequency and movement entropy show a wide range of hot spots in the city center and the periphery of the city center, while the cold spots are distributed in groups on the edge of the city. The agglomeration characteristics did not show structural changes in different seasons, but there were differences in the location and range of agglomeration. 2) The spatiotemporal differentiation of the elderly's public transport-based mobility is compound. Although the overall influence of seasonal factors on the mobility of the elderly population is weak, there is a significant concentration in specific places. However, the sensitivity of different urban spaces to seasonal change is different, and it mainly increases from the city center outward. The study enriches elderly mobility research by developing an understanding on public transport-related mobility behavior of the elderly, and by exploring the spatiotemporal differentiations of public transport-based mobility across seasons. Empirically, this study can shed light on planning strategies and policy recommendations for developing elderly-friendly cities.

Key words: public transport-based mobility, elderly population, spatiotemporal differentiation, season, Wuhu City