Predictions of EUROSTAT have shown that the share of people aged 65 years or over in the total population is projected to increase from 17% to 30% and the number is projected to rise from 85 million in 2008 to 152 million in 2060. Similarly, the number of people aged 80 years or over is projected to almost triple from 22 million in 2008 to 62 million in 2060. In order to keep them actively involved in society and maintain independence, it is vital that older people, now and in the future, are able to travel and have access to transport.
The aim of GOAL was to provide an action plan for innovative solutions to fulfil the transport needs of an ageing society. This action plan was developed by state-of-the-art reviews, identification of possible and relevant societal developments and alternatives to transport. We identified relevant research gaps and product developments through contacts in the USA and Japan. The focus of GOAL was on land-based transport.
In GOAL we described the physical and mental characteristics of older people and used these to develop profiles which represent the range of characteristics to be formed in the population now and in the future. These profiles were used to explore in a structured way the needs while driving, using public transport, walking and cycling and the relevant information needed before and during travel.
The profiles were also used to address additional issues of older people and other developments which may impact on travel decisions in the future. There was considerable expertise in the consortium related to all aspects of the project. However, to validate our work and to ensure that it will have the widest acceptance, a series of workshops were held to enable the widest constituency of stakeholder bodies and experts to interact with the study team. The research and development needs were identified and used to develop an action plan to achieve the goal of growing older and staying mobile.
The number of people older than 65 will increase with 30% in 2060 compared to what is was in 2008. During the same period the number of people older than 80 will triple. It has therefore been necessary to address the challenges this increase in the older population might present for the transport systems of the future. Therefore GOAL developed an action plan for innovative solutions to meet the transport needs of an ageing population.
The action plan presented seven research actions which had to be addressed to meet the transport challenges brought by the increase in the older population. The seven research actions are:
- Developing a database on walking and cycling behaviour by older people.
- Identify motivators for walking and cycling for older people.
- Investigate the transition behaviour from car to other modalities.
- Develop methodologies to asses the benefits of public transport accessibility measures.
- Identify the requirements for travel information and social media suitable for older people.
- Assess the impact and potential of future technology for the older driver.
- Develop driving screening and assessment tools and programs.
Taking the behaviour of the older population into consideration for planning innovative solutions for dealing with their transport needs in the future.
The action plan developed by GOAL set out seven research actions that have to be met for the transport needs of the elderly population to be met in the future. For these research actions to be properly executed there is a need for policy makers to facilitate this research.
The action plan developed by the GOAL project contributes towards a more efficient and integrated mobility system by evaluating the needs and challenges that will come in relation to the transport needs of the older population.