Staying mobile in later life
As our population ages, older people’s mobility is a growing priority for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). They already support older people in various ways.
- Concessionary travel has been extended to cover Metrolink tram and local rail services.
- The TfGM Disability Design Reference Group has helped make stops, stations and interchanges more accessible.
- TfGM fund the Ring & Ride minibus service and train their staff to be dementia friendly.
All changes which can also make transport easier for other people with accessibility barriers.
In 2018, TfGM and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, with the support of the Centre for Ageing Better, commissioned research to further understand what an age-friendly transport network looks like, the mobility challenges older people face and what they see as transport priorities. GMCVO, through our Ambition for Ageing programme, has been supporting this work.
This involved a review of current policy and literature on transportation and ageing in Greater Manchester. Older people (including those living with dementia) and their advocates contributed through local area workshops and events organised by Ambition for Ageing and the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network.
The transport and ageing review made five broad recommendations.
- More transport staff should be trained in older people’s issues.
- More older people should be involved in transport planning and design.
- Other sectors should work with transport authorities to help manage issues and remove barriers older people face. A cooperative approach should include the idea of ‘total transport’ that makes better use of existing resources, including hospital and school transport.
- The local community should do more to support older people to get out and about, such as business, retail and other premises welcoming older people who need to sit down or use the toilet.
- ‘Demonstrator communities’ could trial novel solutions to specific issues, like giving older people more time at pedestrian crossings or providing audio-visual bus information.
We are supporting TfGM and the GM Ageing Hub to publish plans on responding to the recommendations.