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.
Natasha Richardson | EurekAlert!
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy