In this policy statement we look at the increase in demand for public transport from older people as the UK's demographics change.
The changes in UK demographics will greatly increase demand for public transport from older people. By 2021, 20% of the urban population in the UK, and 29% in rural areas, will be over the age of 65. Older people, with longer life expectancy and often greater wealth, are set to play an increasingly important role in society. The transport market and engineering community should be adjusting now to meet their needs.
- The Government reviews the universal transport subsidy for older people. Given the economic climate and rising number of older people, the current system will become unsustainable. Consideration must be given to subsidising the vulnerable few, whilst diverting the majority of funds to improve accessibility of the transport network for all.
- Transport and infrastructure providers, working with Local Authorities and Central Government need to ensure their engineers implement an integrated transport strategy over the next 20 years to cater for the growing older population. For example providing clearer signage, installing more escalators, providing more seating at stops and stations and adapting ticket machines to make them more user-friendly.
- The government and Local Authorities must include older people’s views and experiences when developing new public transport infrastructure. This could be achieved by including organisations such as AgeUK and Voice North in public discussion forums and ensuring that older people engage in all public consultation processes.