Actions to support older people’s mobility

In developing the Older Persons Mobility Plan we talked to older people about what they needed from transport services at different stages of their ageing. The statements used in the Action Plan reflect what they told us.

Keeping active and connected with my community

As an older person, keeping active and connected with my community means:

  • My public transport trips are seamless and accessible.
  • I am aware that I can get where I need to go safely by walking, cycling and public transport information.
  • I do not experience barriers to getting around by public transport.
  • Public transport and facilities meet my needs as I age.
  • I can continue to drive for as long as I am medically fit and competent to drive safely, but I am not car dependent.

What transport has achieved so far

Better Infrastructure and Fleet

The Transport Access Program has delivered upgraded facilities to improve accessibility and benefits  to get customers to, from and around public transport interchanges. In the 2018 NSW Budget the NSW Government confirmed a further $882 million would be spent on improving access to public transport, boosting NSW’s investment in public transport accessibility to $2 billion since 2011.

The NSW Government has delivered more than 30,000 additional weekly public transport services since 2011.

Transport for NSW has continued to invest in new, low-floor buses to support easier access for older customers.

Transport for NSW continues to deliver new signage across the transport network that is consistent and easy-to-follow to make public transport easier for customers to use, particularly when changing modes and taking unfamiliar journeys.

The Country Public Transport Infrastructure Grants Scheme provided subsidies to support the construction or upgrade of bus stop and other minor transport infrastructure needs for any transport services contracted by Transport for NSW across country NSW. The grants provided opportunities to improve the accessibility of bus transport for customers in rural communities

Commissioning of the New Inner Harbour Ferries as part of the Fleet Delivery Program to provide new ferries for more comfortable, reliable and efficient journeys with better accessibility features to meet the needs of older customers.

 

Walkable Communities

Sydney’s Walking Future was released to promote walking by connecting people to places through safe, convenient walking networks through engagement with partners across government, councils and non-government organisations.

Delivery of the Transport for NSW Active Transport (Walking and Cycling) Program, which provides funding in collaboration with local government to target improvements in walking and cycling in the areas where most short trips occur. The NSW Government has invested record amounts in walking and cycling infrastructure, committing more than $250m to cycling and walking upgrades over the six years from 2011 to 2018.

The Active Transport Program provides investment through 100 per cent and partnership funding arrangements. Programs improved walking through the delivery of improved pedestrian crossing facilities and enhanced connections.

The Active Transport Program provides funding to local councils to develop Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plans and walking infrastructure including signalised and non-signalised crossings, kerb ramps and pedestrian refuges.

 

Affordable and Safe Transport

Transport for NSW continues to offer eligible seniors concession fares on public transport which are the most generous in Australia.

Roads and Maritime Services continues to offer holders of a pensioner concession card exemption from fees for driver licencing and driver testing and the registration and motor vehicle tax for one vehicle per person.

Transport for NSW has produced a comprehensive communication and education resource, On the  road 65Plus. It provides information regarding health and road user abilities, information on safer driving habits, walking safely, using public transport safely, licensing options, planning to retire from full-time driving, choosing a safer vehicle, other transport options and using mobility scooters safely.

Future actions for Transport for NSW

Better Infrastructure and Fleet

Continue to ensure that the needs of older customers are considered for major capital projects such as new rolling stock, fleet, stations and other built environment connections by consulting with them about their needs.

Engage with and communicate best practice to local governments to support infrastructure for walkability, safety and transport for seniors in local communities relating to key facilities, such as bus stops.

Work collaboratively with local governments to determine if existing policy and program settings best reflect the growing ageing population in terms of walkable infrastructure and safe shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists.

Ensure that transport operators provide facilities for older customers, such as toilets, waiting areas and seating.

Ensure future toilet design takes into consideration the needs of older customers, such as adequate space for walking aids and other ambulant mobility devices.

Explore opportunities to minimise platform gaps and height differences to enable better access to and from transport vehicles for older customers.

Improve operational guidance on bus stop design and driver training to make boarding and alighting of buses easier and safer for older customers.

Improve access for older customers to recreational facilities, such as boat ramps and jetties, by developing and making available a detailed database of facilities to allow better journey planning and access to recreational boating.

Continue to work with councils in preparing Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plans and Place-Based Planning with a systematic approach to result in effective infrastructure improvements and identify any opportunities for funding.

Promote the use of the Commonwealth’s ‘Whole of Journey’ guide for accessibility to local government and infrastructure agencies.

 

Better Information and Training

Seek opportunities to work with peak cycling bodies, bicycle user groups and bicycle training providers to promote road safety with cycling skills and confidence training courses for older customers.

Support local government in identifying opportunities to deliver improved outcomes for older persons transport mobility, such as educational material and walking maps through the use of the Transport for NSW Active Transport (Walking and Cycling) Program.

Review pathways for the transition from driver to non-driver beyond the licensing system. In particular, determine opportunities to offer more transport options for older people to best suit their needs.

In collaboration with NSW TrainLink, explore opportunities to further promote leisure travel packages targeted towards both domestic and international older travellers.

Improve the targeting of information on safer driving and transition to non-driving, including consideration of Point to Point travel training opportunities. Investigate overseas best practice examples such as Mobility Centres in the United Kingdom.

Continue to review campaigns such as “Ride to Live” to measure the effectiveness amongst at risk audiences including older motorcycle riders and drivers.

 

Better Services

Improve access to off-peak services to enhance available transport options and connections for older customers.

Continue trials of flexible and demand responsive services in metropolitan and rural settings and monitor benefits for older customers.

Finalise and implement the Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies with a view to increasing transport options for eligible frail older customers.

Address geographical transport disadvantage in parts of rural and regional NSW through delivery of NSW Community Transport Services.

Monitor Opal Gold Card usage data to better understand the travel patterns and potential service needs of older customers.

Design better rural transport services to provide access to key destinations such as hospitals and medical centres.

Staying Safe

As an older person, staying safe means:

  • I can feel safe and confident accessing and using transport to get around.
  • I have alternatives if I am no longer medically fit and competent to drive safely.
  • I am confident that my transport provider and station staff prioritise my safety.

What transport has achieved so far

Better Infrastructure and Fleet

The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan 2014-16 was developed by the Centre for Road Safety to facilitate the improvement of road and footpath infrastructure to improve safety and access for pedestrians. Initiatives include trialling new countdown timers and the development of pedestrian friendly signal phasing.

Delivery of improved safety measures through programs such as the CCTV Upgrade Project and Station Refresh Program to improve lighting levels at stations and replacement of CCTV cameras with improved functionality and image quality across rail, bus, light rail and ferry services.

 

Affordable and Safe Transport

The Road Safety Plan 2021 continues to target safety at locations with a high pedestrian crash history through the implementation of infrastructure treatments.

Training programs have been developed for bus drivers, customer service officers on trains, drivers of community transport and other point to point service providers in assisting older customers to use their services safely.

 

Better Information and Training

Through the Local Government Road Safety Program, programs have been developed based on crash data and road safety issues affecting individual areas. This has resulted in pedestrian awareness campaigns that target drivers through print media and radio, and presentations to older road users to help older pedestrians understand their risks, refresh their knowledge, and provide advice.

Future actions for Transport for NSW

Affordable and Safe Transport

Building on the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan 2014–16, explore the opportunity to expand the information being delivered, especially through the Local Government Road Safety Program, to older road users and people with disabilities such as those with a vision impairment and hearing loss.

Monitor new and emerging mobility devices that become available to the market and look to ensure appropriate safety messaging is developed.

Encourage and incentivise older drivers to purchase newer, safer vehicles that include crash avoidance technologies.

Analyse data regarding slips, trips and falls of older customers across the transport network and determine future actions to reduce occurrences at key locations.

Investigate the use of technology and new smartphone applications to provide additional safety measures, such as longer traffic light phasing for pedestrian crossings.

Continue to work with the Australian Government to develop a national labelling scheme and safety standards for mobility scooters to encourage their safe use on public transport and in pedestrian environments.

Investigate the provision of day return trips in rural and regional NSW to assist with safe and affordable journeys.

 

Better Information and Training

Develop, test and conduct a broad courtesy campaign targeted at the use of priority seating on transport services.

Use local government road safety education activities as an opportunity to seek feedback from older customers on the adequacy of local pedestrian and road infrastructure.

Collaborate with local government to implement measures at identified locations with a higher proportion of older pedestrians, potentially including lower speed limits, traffic calming measures, and signal improvements.

 

Improved Customer Service

Undertake further research on the customer experience for older customers on the bus network. Define customer needs and develop recommendations for customer service improvements.

Incorporate research findings about barriers and fears (such as falls) of older customers in bus driver sensitisation training and other frontline customer service training.

Provide dementia awareness training to frontline customer service staff.

 

Better Infrastructure and Fleet

Work with and encourage local councils to standardise design and signage for bus stops through the development of Bus Stop Guidelines and potential co-funding arrangements.

Being informed

As an older person, staying informed means:

  • I can have access to the information I need about transport services.
  • The information I need during my journey, such as stops, station and wharf identification is provided.
  • I am aware of how technology can enhance my journey.
  • I can continue to receive information if I don’t use technology.

What transport has achieved so far

Better Information and Training

The transportnsw.info website, 131 500 InfoLine, mobile website, Interactive Voice Response and Twitter continues to be a key source of information about public transport across NSW.

Transport for NSW continues to improve the transport.info website, for example through incorporating trip planning for NSW TrainLink services, to make it easier for older customers to plan their journey.

Continued delivery of First Stop Transport and Travel Training programs to support new and infrequent older public transport customers.

Delivery and improvement of travel planning transport apps that can be downloaded on smartphones and tablets from the App Store (Apple devices) and Google Play (Android devices), such as the Opal Travel app and other real-time travel apps.

Continuing to partner with app designers to provide better customer services and information for people with limited mobility to confidently use public transport in NSW.

Future actions for Transport for NSW

Better Information and Training

Continue to include new transport technology, including real-time apps in the Tech Savvy Seniors Program (partnership between Department of Family and Community Services and Telstra).

Expand the awareness of Travel Training through agencies such as Service NSW and other groups, such as local non-profit organisations.

Continue to monitor new technology such as developments in Artificial Intelligence and assess how it may assist transport in better meeting the needs of older customers.

Use data captured through existing customer satisfaction surveys to better understand the public transport journeys of older customers and identify opportunities to improve customer information and uptake of new technologies.

Investigate systems that enable access to mobility as a service for older customers without access to a smart phone or computer.

Involve older customers in user testing of new technology based products and services such as passenger information displays.

Improve the clarity and legibility of public transport timetable information published as printed documents or online for download.

Partner with community information and service centres such as local libraries and Service NSW centres to distribute information about local and regional transport services, and alternative transportation options.

Continue to promote 131 500 as an alternative for older customers who do not have access to digital transport service information.

Maintaining independence

As an older person, maintaining independence means:

  • I can continue to use public transport services as I age.
  • I can have the ability to plan for my transport needs, both now and in the future.
  • My public transport options can be tailored to my needs.
  • I have a say in the type of point to point and Community Transport services I access.

What transport has achieved so far

Affordable and Safe Transport

Continued delivery of the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme, which provides fare subsidy for eligible NSW residents who are unable to use public transport because of a qualifying severe and permanent disability and continue incentives to the taxi industry to increase the supply of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis.

Investment in Point to Point reforms to raise the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme cap from $30 to $60 per journey; reduce the Wheelchair Accessible Taxi licence fees in metro areas to zero and expand the current Wheelchair Accessible Taxi interest free loan scheme.

Roads and Maritime Services have continued to administer the Mobility Parking Scheme to improve social inclusion and participation in the community for people with mobility disabilities.

Continued delivery and investment in the NSW Community Transport Program to assist with local transport solutions for older customers who are frail and their carers.

 

Improved Transport Service Options

Introduction of the Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016 which will encourage innovative new services to better meet customers’ needs, as well as better use of existing resources.

Continued roll out of the Centralised Trip and Allocation Booking System to all contracted community transport service providers to assist in managing their resources more efficiently through facilitating real-time tracking for their vehicles, automated confirmation and reminders to customers of trip bookings and better manage cancellations.

The older person licensing scheme has been revised to assess the effectiveness of support provided to older customers to reduce the reliance on driving, including providing guidance to health professionals in relation to fitness to drive and options available.

Continued to explore partnerships between community transport providers, taxi companies and other point to point providers to transport meet community transport needs outside of operating hours.

A trial of two prototype vehicles amongst community transport service providers across NSW has been conducted to seek customer feedback on the design comfort of the vehicles and the outcomes are currently being evaluated for future consideration in the Transport for NSW Bus Procurement Panel.

Continue development of new service options that overcome barriers associated with the long distance to the bus stop or train station and poor pedestrian accessibility, including ‘hub and spoke’ services and flexible demand responsive services.

Seek opportunities to increase uptake of point to point and mobility as a service products by Seniors, including through special discounts and incentives from service providers.

Introduce more on-demand services (community transport, local/shuttle bus) to and from public transport hubs, to encourage older customers to use public transport services.

In alignment with the roll out of the Centralised Trip and Allocation Booking System, establish better partnerships within communities and with other agencies such as NSW Health to assist community transport. In some areas, community transport may be under-utilised or there may be better ways to ensure that the demand for community transport trips by older customers can be serviced by local community transport operators.

Following the trials of flexible transport in Western NSW (Tottenham to Dubbo and Bourke to Brewarrina), investigate opportunities to expand public transport options for isolated and disadvantaged communities.

 

Affordable and Safe Transport

Explore alternative ways for travel training to be provided that is relevant to older customers at the local level following evaluation of initial roll out.

Continue to support programs for Aboriginal communities, such as assistance with transport to funerals.

 

Better Information and Training

Undertake further research on the customer experience for older customers on the bus network. Define customer needs and develop recommendations for customer service improvements.

 

Better Infrastructure and Fleet

Collaborate with Local Government to influence planning processes associated with the design of roadside infrastructure, such as bus stops, footpaths and kerb ramps to consider the needs of older customers and makes it easier for them to access public transport.