Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small Changes To Transport Systems Could Mean Big Benefits For Older People

Date:
September 22, 2008
Source:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Summary:
A new study has pinpointed how simple, low-cost measures could revolutionize older peoples' ability to use transport systems effectively, safely and with confidence.

Seeing transport through different eyes: a researcher accompanies an older person on a walk-round in the Leeds area.
Credit: Image courtesy of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

A new study has pinpointed how simple, low-cost measures could revolutionise older people's ability to use transport systems effectively, safely and with confidence.

Researchers at the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University believe the measures they have identified could eliminate many of the day-to-day problems that currently deter older people from using public transport and the pavements and roads in their locality.

Examples of potential measures include:

  • Provision of road crossings at a greater number of wide or busy junctions.
  • Provision of road crossings that allow pedestrians a longer time to cross.
  • Designing bus interiors to ensure secure handholds are provided in the wheelchair and buggy storage area, through which passengers boarding the bus have to pass.
  • Designing bus stops to ensure people sitting down inside them can easily see when their bus is coming, without repeatedly having to get up and down to check.
  • Introducing a system of accredited standards for taxi companies, to reassure older people that they will only be taken to their destination via the most direct route

Implementing such measures would make a major contribution to eliminating feelings of vulnerability, enhancing independence and boosting the quality of life experienced by the UK's ageing population.

The study was the first on transport related to be led by input from older people themselves rather than dictated by researchers. Undertaken as part of the SPARC (Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity) initiative, its findings will be discussed at this year's BA Festival of Science in Liverpool on Thursday 11th September. SPARC is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Complementing input from public health and transport engineering specialists, a key role in the research was played by 10 focus groups, designed to capture the first-hand experiences and views of a total of 81 older people from the Leeds area.

Some focus group members also participated in unique, groundbreaking 'walk-rounds' of local districts, with researchers accompanying older people to see real-world transport-related difficulties through their eyes.

The findings from the focus groups and walk-rounds highlighted the fact that design guidance currently available to planners of transport infrastructure and services does not adequately take older people's requirements into account. The limitations of the transport planning software generally used by local authorities when developing transport systems also became clear. In particular, the research team concluded that the software does not reflect the length of time it actually takes older people to complete journeys by foot and by public transport.

The team also came to the view that training and awareness programmes for bus drivers etc focusing on the specific needs of older people (e.g. ensuring that buses do not pull off before everyone is safely seated) could have a beneficial impact.

"Older people want to use transport systems to help them maintain their independence", says Dr Greg Marsden, who led the research. "But it may only take one bad or frightening experience on a bus or crossing a road to put them off. Major changes are needed in the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure and services, with older people consulted and their needs taken more fully into account."

Dr Marsden and his team aim to continue exploring older people's transport-related experiences and to investigate how they manage the transition between car dependency and greater reliance on public transport as they grow older.

The 10-month study 'Older People and Transport: Integrating Transport Planning Tools and User Needs' received financial support from SPARC of 24,589. Additional support was received from the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University.

The study also highlighted that:

  • Travel itself and the associated feeling of independence are often more important than the destination for older people. For instance, shopping is more than just buying food or clothes; it is an experience, a reason to go out and interact with others.
  • Problems faced by older people when walking round local neighbourhoods include obstacles caused by badly parked cars, untrimmed hedges and hedge trimmings left on the pavement.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "Small Changes To Transport Systems Could Mean Big Benefits For Older People." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080911111526.htm>.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. (2008, September 22). Small Changes To Transport Systems Could Mean Big Benefits For Older People. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080911111526.htm
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "Small Changes To Transport Systems Could Mean Big Benefits For Older People." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080911111526.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins