Ageing, mobility and driverless cars

The most commonly reported problem facing older Australians is a need for assistance with mobility. Many have lived for most of their lives in largely suburban or rural neighbourhoods built around the use of the car. Driving cessation is routinely cited as a cause for increased depression and lower quality of life, as existing mitigation strategies cannot offer the same level of mobility as the continued ability to drive.

Driverless cars are expected to be available by 2020, and the technology offers unprecedented levels of mobility for older adults. However, many unresolved technological and legal concerns still remain, such as the risk of equipment failure, threat from online hackers, liability in case of collision, etc. The technology’s dependence on passengers’ willingness to trust a computer to safely navigate different situations will make public attitudes toward driverless cars one of the most important determinants of the adoption of automated vehicle technology.

I4C, in partnership with the Royal Automobile Association (RAA) of South Australia, is currently undertaking a study that will help us understand the attitudes of older adults towards driverless cars, and their willingness to pay for access to the same. As part of the study, we will be launching an online survey in July 2017, to be taken by Australians aged 55 years and older. The survey will ask participants about their current mobility patterns, and how they think they might change if they had access to self-driving cars through shared mobility services, such as Uber. We are always looking for additional participants. If you’re interested in taking part, send an email to

Your participation can help us identify key barriers to the adoption and diffusion of driverless cars among older adults, and how they could be overcome. Findings from this study are expected to be of value to government agencies, aged care providers, community groups and older Australians. With your help, we can better understand if and how new transportation technologies and services can be leveraged to offer greater mobility and higher quality of life for an ageing national population.

Contact us to find out more information about this project.

Continue reading

  • Joffre Swait

    Joffre Swait

    Prof. Swait is one of our experts in transportation, learn more about his work here.

    Staff profile

  • Akshay Vij

    Akshay Vij

    Dr Vij is one of our experts in transportation, learn more about his work here.

    Staff profile

  • Choice Modelling

    Choice Modelling

    See more about the research techniques we use to deliver key insights for partners.

    Learn more

  • Ask a question

    Ask a question

    Get in touch with the Institute for Choice.

    Contact us