The Role of Mobility Digital Ecosystems for Age-Friendly Urban Public Transport: A Narrative Literature Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 14;17(20):7465. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17207465.


Within the context of the intersection of the global megatrends of urbanisation, ageing societies and digitalisation, this paper explores older people's mobility, with a particular interest in public transport, and a strong consideration of digital/ICT elements. With a focus on (smart) mobility, the paper aims to conceptualise transport, one of the main domains of age-friendly cities as a core element of a smart, age-friendly ecosystem. It also aims to propose a justice-informed perspective for the study of age-friendly smart mobility; to contribute towards a framework for the evaluation of age-friendly smart transport as a core element of the global age-friendly cities programme that comprises mobility practices, digital data, digital networks, material/physical geographies and digital devices and access; and to introduce the term "mobility digital ecosystem" to describe this framework. The paper uses the method of a narrative literature review to weave together a selected range of perspectives from communications, transport, and mobility studies in order to introduce the embeddedness of both communication technology use and mobility practices into their material conditions. Combining insights from communications, mobility and transport and social gerontology with a justice perspective on ICT access and mobility, the paper then develops a framework to study age-friendly smart mobility. What we call a "mobility digital ecosystem" framework comprises five elements-mobility practices, digital data, digital networks, material geographies, digital devices and access to services. The paper contributes a justice-informed perspective that points towards a conceptualisation of age-friendly smart mobility as a core element of the age-friendly cities and communities in the WHO's global age-friendly cities programme.

Keywords: ICT; age-friendly cities; age-friendly transport; age-friendly urban public transport; mobility justice; older people; smart mobility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Cities
  • Ecosystem*
  • Environment Design
  • Humans
  • Transportation*
  • Urban Population