Transport Accessibility for Older People
Mobility and transport are essential to maintaining full independence and freedom of living. Bracknell Forest Council wants to ensure that older people in the Borough have the best possible opportunities to remain able to use their own transport or public transport, or to have access to specialist services.
Wide reaching mobility for everyone is difficult for a Council to provide. Bus routes offer wide coverage for those who can walk to their nearest bus stop and access mainstream public transport services. For older people and those with reduced mobility, the Council provides a grant to local community transport provider Keep Mobile to ensure dial-a-ride and group transport services are available for residents of Bracknell Forest Borough.,.
In general, older residents in the Borough benefit from very good public transport accessibility to GP surgeries and dentists within a 60 minute time threshold.
Accessibility to hospitals by public transport for senior citizens is no different from accessibility for all households. Current accessibility levels on a Sunday are particularly low, but plans are in place to address this in 2017..
Key inequalities and risk factors
- People with disabilities and long-term conditions – national data suggest older people with mobility issues are less likely to use public transport than young people with mobility issues, changes to subsidies may impact on take up of concessionary fares
- Age - Bus use is higher for those aged 60+ than in middle age groups but less than the youngest groups with use of bus services in the 60+ group increasing
- Religion and Belief - The reduction in frequency and/or route/times of a service could impact the ability for some to access centres of faith and places of worship
- Gender – More females use travel services than men, but men travel 25% further per year
Local data suggests that limited bus services on Sundays impacts access to hospitals for older people over 50 more than younger age groups.
Facts, figures and trends
The 2011 Census shows that over a quarter of the total population in Bracknell Forest is over 50 years old and projections suggest the population is getting older. This is a significant group with complex travel challenges. Older people, specifically those over pension age, are more reliant than younger people on public transport, particularly local buses.
Being able to get out and about is an important part of being and remaining independent. The National travel Survey for England 2016 reports that in 2015:
- Shopping and personal business are the most common trip purposes, each accounting for almost 1 in 5 trips
- Leisure, including visits to friends, accounts for nearly 32% of distance travelled (a fall from 40% in 2014)
- Since the mid-1990s, trips for shopping, commuting and visiting friends have fallen consistently
Car availability greatly influences personal travel patterns: people in households with cars make on average more trips, spend more time travelling and, most notably, travel much further than those without cars.
In 2015, desite an increase in driving licence holding among 50-59 year olds compared to previous years, license registration falls consistently with increased age which indicates that fewer older people are driving compared to other age groups. The fall is particularly acute for women over 70 with only 50% having a license compared to 79% of men of the same age. This may explain the higher take up of concessionary schemes by older women (78%) than older men (72%), although take up of concessionary schemes has fallen for 4 consecutive years.
A number of other findings highlight the barriers to travel and increased risk of social isolation: walking and cycling as alterative modes of transport to bus and car and use of public transport by those with mobility issues both decline by age and gender.
Local analysis from 2011 on access to key destinations served by public transport found that people over 50 years old are likely to use heath facilities more often than the general population and good access to hospitals and GP surgeries is crucial for their health and have the same accessibility levels to hospitals as all households except on Sundays:
- 52% have journey times that are within 30 minutes and 100% have journey times within an hour on weekdays (07:00 to 23:00)
- 44% of older people can access hospital care on Saturdays (07:00 to 23:00) while 100% can within 60 minutes
- Only 6% of people over 50 are able to access hospital care within 30 minutes and 89% within an hour on Sundays (07:00 to 23:00)
Access to GP Surgeries on weekdays (08:00 to 19:00): 88% of people aged 50 and over could access their GP practice within 15 minutes and 98% could within 30 minutes.
Access to Dentists on weekdays (08:00 to 19:00): Access to dentists is very good for older people and on the same levels as all households. 99% of older people are able to access a dentist within 30 minutes and all can within an hour.
Following a survey of local transport users, the 2014 Bus Strategy Equality Impact Assessment of which 46% of the respondents were older people aged over 65 years showed:
- Older people (aged over 65 yrs) use the bus most often – 92% at least once per week
- A higher percentage of people with a health problem use the bus more often than those without – 83% at least once per week
- The bus is the most usual means of transport for older people (aged over 65 yrs) – 65%
- The bus is the most usual means of transport for people with health problems – 55%
Planning for services that best meet needs
The needs of older people have been addressed in a number of key priorities set out in Bracknell Forest Council’s Local Transport Plan 3: Core Strategy and Implementation Plan 2011-2026 which seeks to:
- offer an attractive public transport system as a realistic alternative to the car
- provide people with flexible access to healthcare, employment and educational facilities
- offer community transport for the less mobile
- encourage and provide for healthier modes of transport e.g. cycling and walking
- pursue an integrated transport system that facilitates movement beyond the borough boundary
Delivery against these priorities would provide older people with choice, incorporate the needs of the less mobile and maintain access to services in the local and wider community.
Want to know more?
Bracknell Forest Council’s Local Transport Plan 3: Core Strategy and Implementation Plan 2011-2026 contains a number of policies which address the needs of older people:
- TP1 - Accessibility which aims to promote accessibility to key services
- TP3 - Buses which seeks to increase accessibility and bus usage
- TP4 - Rail which promotes betters services and patronage
- TP6 - Community Transport which commits the Council to support transport for people with mobility problems.
- TP8 - Walking and Cycling which seeks to improve infrastructure and safety for walkers and cyclists
Travel by age and gender (Department of Transport, 2015) – travel data broken by age and gender for England.
This page was created on 27 February 2014 and updated on 22 June 2016.
Cite this page:
Bracknell Forest Council. (2016). JSNA – Transport accessibility for older people. Available at: jsna.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/ageing-well/living-well/transport-accessibility-older-people-0 (Accessed: dd Mmmm yyyy)
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