Transport and the Elderly
It may come as no surprise to you to hear that the Over 65 group is growing quite significantly in this area. It is expected to be over a third of Tauranga’s population by 2033. That is, in a growing city, a large number by any standards. We like to get around. We have grown up as the mobile generation. We drive, bike, bus, fly, train, walk and in fact use what ever has been invented. If we didn’t invent these modes of getting about, we know someone who did. Our parents and Grandparents were the pioneers and we have been the developers. Ask any kid today who invented the Ford motorcar and they probably don’t know. We know transport. So what is the city thinking about as it plans future transport needs, and how does our sector feature in all of this. Not much actually. The relevant section of a 135 page document on Tauranga City’s strategic transport plan is printed below. It is a bit lame and fails to recognise the significant influence we have and will have on transport. Lots of wishy-washy generalisations which do not address the real concerns of this age group.
A very thoughtful article in The Bay Of Plenty Times on Saturday 5 Nov is worth reading. What would you like to tell the council about transporting needs of the elderly. Better bus runs, smaller buses, larger buses, parking for SuperGold card holders, problems with sandwich boards, access in buildings and toilets, mobility scooter parks and so on? Let us know, we will publish your concerns. Write to your council.
Buy a driverless car.
Tauranga City’s strategic transport plan
Key Implementation Area – Access & Mobility
This section considers in more detail Tauranga’s ageing population and its disabled or mobility impaired community. The issues of access and mobility are a
key part of the Tauranga Transport Strategy 2012-2042.
Trends and Challenges
The population across New Zealand is getting older. Tauranga is already significantly over-represented in the over 65 age bracket (17.4% of the population in
2006 compared to a national average of 12.3%). Over the next 30 years this position will only change slightly in Tauranga but there will be a significant
increase in people aged over 65 nationally.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) identified eight major policy priorities to manage the mobility needs and safety issues
for older people. These involve supporting older people as their transport needs change.
Support and funding to enable lifelong mobility
Support for older people to continue driving safely ^
Provision of suitable transport options to the private car
Safer vehicles for older people
Development of safer roads and infrastructure
Appropriate land-use practices
Involvement of older people in policy development
Educational campaigns to promote maximum mobility and safety for older people
Physical infrastructure and the design of public space can impact on the ability of older people to move around. If there are areas that are physically
impossible for people to pass by (e.g. barriers in the middle of walkways that are too narrow for mobility scooters), or areas that feel unsafe they are likely to
present a barrier to movement.
The World Health Organisation has written a checklist for age-friendly cities to make it easier for older people to move around. Some examples are:
• Ensure kerbs are not too high or too steep to allow mobility scooters to get on and off footpaths.
• Ensure footpaths have no trip hazards, are wide enough, and are continuous on both sides of the road for pedestrians, mobility scooters, push chairs,
walking frames and wheel chairs to move around safely.
• Ensure public space has crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) so that older people can feel safe in public spaces.
• Remove or redesign staples on walkways to allow mobility scooters to get through.
• Provide good urban design in public spaces.
• Provide adequate lighting of public space, car parks, roads and footpaths
• Install age friendly infrastructure at bus stops, including larger fonts on bus timetables, seating and weather proof shelters.
• Consider designing new road markings and signage to make it easier for people who are losing their eyesight, to understand the road network, and
allow older people to feel comfortable continuing to drive for longer.
• Locate public seating (particularly in hilly areas) for older pedestrians.
• Provide easy access priority parking for elderly or disabled that is located near service providers. Ensure this parking is monitored.
The affordability of transport choices can also have an enormous impact on the mobility of people with a fixed or limited income and those who do not have
access or cannot afford to buy or run a private car. Ensuring access to a range of goods and services is vital for community well-being.
With ongoing fuel cost volatility and the cost of a wide range of basic goods continuing to rise provision of transport alternatives ensures there is an
affordable, viable means of access to basic services such as work, shops and health facilities. Careful land use planning combined with investment in the bus
network, cycle routes and facilities for pedestrians over the past decade has reduced isolation for the elderly, supported the independent movement of
children within their communities and provided access to medical services, education and employment.
If you are keen, read the whole document here