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Meeting the mobility needs of older people

Older Persons Transport and Mobility Plan 2018-2022

Meeting the mobility needs of older people

Older people reflect the diversity of the general population but, because of their life stage, have different travel and mobility needs and aspirations to other age groups. Their needs may vary depending on their age, health, lifestyle, residential location and stage of life.

The projected growth in the older population is more than double that of the growth in younger age groups throughout NSW. Population ageing is particularly pronounced in the rural and regional areas of the state.

Transport for NSW also acknowledges the special role to be played by the transport sector in strengthening Aboriginal communities particularly for older Aboriginal people. Initiatives into the future will focus on transport improvements to connect Aboriginal communities and older Aboriginal people to employment, recreation and health services. This connection provides further opportunities for people in Aboriginal communities to access sporting, cultural and social events as well as meet family and community obligations.

Transport solutions for an ageing population will need to fully consider the diversity that exists among older people to ensure they can enjoy the benefits of longevity.

Aspects associated with longevity need to be considered in the future design and operation of transport services in NSW. For example, as the population ages, the need to cater for customers with illnesses such as dementia to maintain social connectivity will significantly increase.

An important starting point is to understand what older people value in relation to their day to day transport. Findings from customer research and case studies internationally demonstrate that these requirements are remarkably similar around the world.


What matters to older customers:

Our customer research and consultations told us that older people want many of the same things as other public transport customers.

They are interested in:

  • better public transport infrastructure and assets
  • better connectivity, accessibility and comfort
  • more flexibility and commuter choice
  • higher frequency of services throughout the day
  • better management of disruptions
  • safety, affordability and the provision of customer service.

Consistent with research conducted in Europe and in Singapore, our older customers have some common characteristics. In general, they:

  • are not regular public transport users and regard cars as their most important transport mode
  • are not planning for when they can no longer drive
  • use new technologies, including real-time travel information, differently from younger customers
  • prefer walking and buses when they are less active
  • expect that specialist transport services will be available when they need them.

Social profile of NSW’s older population

In NSW, more than 1.2 million persons are aged 65 and over.

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

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