In 2006, the UK government implemented a policy of free bus travel passes for people aged 60 and older. We studied the impacts of this age-friendly transportation policy on mental health and social engagement among older people in England. The findings suggest that increased public transportation use as a result of the free bus passes led to declines in depressive symptoms and feelings of loneliness, as well as increases in volunteering and spending time with children and friends. Transportation policies may serve as public health instruments to improve the mental health and social engagement of older people.

Reinhard et al, Public transport policy, social engagement and mental health in older age: a quasi-experimental evaluation of free bus passes in England