Semester of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Seniors (65 years and above) are most disadvantaged with their mobility due to their declining health and limited travel options, especially after retiring from driving. They have been the most affected age group during the COVID-19 because of their weak immune systems. This study aimed to investigate the transportation mobility preferences and challenges of seniors and their willingness to use Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) before and during COVID-19.

Using a national survey, responses from 1507 senior Americans from the 50 U.S. states were gathered proportionally to reflect the senior population by age, gender, race, and state. A McNemar-Bowker Chi-Square test was used in finding the differences in travel choices before and during the pandemic whilst an Ordered Probit Model was employed to understand the factors determining the satisfaction of the mobility of seniors during COVID-19. Additionally, Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling were employed to determine the willingness of seniors to use AVs before and after experiencing COVID-19.

The results showed that the most important factors that affected seniors’ travel decisions during COVID-19 were their safety and security, virus infection, comfort, and convenience. The frequency of seniors’ trips and usage of travel modes generally reduced significantly during COVID-19. The most common challenges for seniors were the accessibility, reliability, and flexibility of public transit before and during pandemic. The findings also indicated that seniors’ satisfaction with their mobility depended their choice of private cars as the most affordable and reliable mode option, physical mobility challenges that prevented them from walking or driving and the extra expenditure they made on their travels during the pandemic.

Furthermore, about 67.2% of senior respondents were unwilling to use AVs because of their distrust in AVs. No significant shift was seen in their willingness to request a ride hailing AV service after experiencing COVID-19. However, seniors were willing to choose AVs when they cannot drive or disabled if AVs were safer for them. Seniors’ willingness to use AVs depended on their preferences for using both Semi-Autonomous Vehicles and Fully Autonomous Vehicles, their ratings on the importance of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, their mobility challenges, and their demographics.



Committee Chair

Hassan, Hany

Available for download on Sunday, November 01, 2026