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The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute » » www. vti. se VTI presentation 0505 /SID 9 www. vti. se
Mobility Patterns Among Older People in Sweden Women’s and men’s experiences and modal choice from a life course perspective Lena Levin, Ph. D. VTI Mobility, Actors and Planning processes 13 th International Conference on ’Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons’ TRANSED 2012 – New Delhi, India September 17 - 21, 2012.
Qualitative research projects Ø 30 individual interviews Ø 10 focus groups Ø Participants = retired people from about 60 to over 90 years old Ø Literature review on Best Practice measures for older people in Scandinavia
Aim and objectives Retired people today travel a lot more than previous generations, their wellbeing is connected with being able to get out and about daily Increase knowledge about: • The options for the elderly population’s every day transport • Public transport (PT) solutions for older people • Focus on older peoples experiences, perspectives, preferences • Life course perspective: before, now and the future
• To examine how older people describe their decisions to travel, and how they experience their everyday transports • To grasp the heterogeneity among older people • The subjects involved were recruited from both urban and rural areas, they have different backgrounds, age and gender; the majority of them are ethnic Swedes, however the study also included people with different ethnic background. .
A theory of ‘Best Practice’ A (theoretical) good practice model, developed for urban public transport based on three levels: 1. Traditional Fixed Route Service. Standard 12‐metre low‐floor buses, trams or metro‐trains supporting the mass transportation of people with little or no mobility limitations. 2. Service Routes, fixed routes or flexible routes on demand. These are usually operated by smaller low‐floor buses routed as closely as possible to where people live and to service centres and health facilities. This sort of service mainly serves older and disabled people who have difficulty using the ordinary Fixed Route Service. 3. The Special Transport Service (STS). Special mobility services available to people who are seriously disabled and require door‐to‐door transport and/or more personal assistance. The STS is mainly operated with taxi‐cars or multi‐purpose vehicles (e. g. mini-bus). The real practice = Various options and various restrictions…
Results from interviews and focus groups Older people’s experiences and their use of public transport • Young old (newly retired) are frequent car drivers • Old old people in urban areas are highly mobile (travel options are quite good in city areas, however timetables do not fit older people’s activities) • Not solely the age is an important category; also economy, where you live and if you live together with someone (most crucial in rural areas) • STS and other forms of fixed route services (e. g. convenient mini-buses) – a booking in advance system – is seen as a mode of last resort • Local variations – for example urban vs. rural
Variations • The studies show gendered variations in the use of transportation modes • Differences are not always due to issues of accessibility, but rather to habits and life course trajectories. For example, older men and car driving. • The place of living. In rural areas older people drive more often than in densely populated urban areas. Example, man 71 year, Countryside : It is, well to hope it gets. . . a future like today. You can drive as long as possible. And then, when they cannot solve it, then. . . I do not know. Have not thought so much about the future.
• Women travel more often than men by public transport in younger ages, which could be a travel trajectory which follows in the life course: Example, woman 91, Middle sized city: If I can take the bus, I do it. Interviewer: Do you think it is nicer or easier to take the bus or. . . ? /. . . / nicer, more pleasant to ride the bus than the transportation service. For the during the trip I will always be in contact with other people, both at the bus stop and the bus and there is always someone to talk to and I'm happy to talk, haha
Barriers and strategies to avoid them Mobility barriers are recognised in the interviewees’ stories – e. g. long walking distances, timetables does not fit older people, stress during the journey. Many of them try to: • Avoid changes (from bus to train and vice versa) because of walking distance • Avoid rush hours (crowded buses) Example, woman 75 year, City: Often I get a seat on the bus, but it happens also that there isn’t, … sometimes happens that when I see that it is full of people I step off and try to call transportation service, I cannot be bothered to stand so much.
Strategies • How to try to combine public transport with other transport modes Example, 90 year old man living in the City: “because there are so few buses during the day, I usually walk in one direction, usually when I'm home, and then take the bus back”. • Planning to resettle to a more convenient place of living in old age Example, 69 year old woman, Countryside: When we move from our agency in the country, I will have to plan so that we can. . . make use of public transport later. /. . . / Then I will have the bus stop outside.
Choice • Actually many choose walking or bicycling before taking the car or the bus • Importance of coming out and meet other people, and moving around in different environments. They even referred to the importance for health reasons “to come out” every day. • They also said that they can choose to stay at home some days, referring to their age Example, woman 81 years living in a rural area: “you see I must not travel every day a week, I can choose another day if the weather is bad or if I feel tired”
Conclusions Elements of restrictions appear in some of their stories which are not always due to their own choice and must therefore be considered in future planning so that these individuals are not left out of the contexts they need and want to participate in Examples: • long distance to the bus stop • stairs • travel centers and other interchanges at different levels/floors • timetables that are not synchronized or buses at times that do not fit older people’s daily activity
• Except from deficiencies in public transport, it can also be about poor maintenance of sidewalks, about cycle paths or footpaths that abruptly end at a difference in level, or stairs to the next available accessible area. Stairs to the next available accessible area makes it difficult
Conclusions • The whole chain of movements in the transport environment has to be available • For the oldest respondents, it is particularly important that the whole journey works • Mobility for older people is still an area under development • Lack of understanding of the needs and preferences of different groups of older people • The characteristics of the heterogeneous group of “older people”, i. e. pensioners from young old (about 60– 65 years) to older old (80+) has to be considered.
Need for: • More durable solutions • Understanding of the whole journey concept • Universal design • Recognise both former travel trajectories, preferred activities and their depending on present days occasions and health status • Just like retiring from work – retiring from driving and changing from one transport mode to another should be considered.
Suggestions • Development of models depicting the journey from beginning to end • Escorted journeys by public transport staff • Planning in dialogue with older people • Marketing and training campaigns for older people encouraging the involvement of a wide array of users and organised participation of user groups • New solutions would be considered; for example, increased coordination of various PT and also between PT and other transport modes (e. g. local mobility services), which is especially important for older people living in rural areas • Further research is needed in cooperation with public transport suppliers.
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Reports http: //www. vti. se/en/publications/ Berg, Jessica & Levin, Lena. (2011). Äldres vardagliga resor. Val av färdmedel och erfarenheter av kollektivtrafik. [Older people’s everyday travel – Choice of travel mode and experience of public transport]. (VTI Report 737). Linköping: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). Swedish with a summary in English. Levin, Lena; Ulleberg, Pål ; Siren, Anu & Hjorthol, Randi. (2012). Measures to enhance mobility among older people in Scandinavia. A literature review of best practice. (VTI Report 749 A). Linköping and Oslo: VTI and TØI.