An age-friendly city is a city that encourages active ageing by optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance the quality of life as people age - World Health Organisation
Older people commonly experience difficulties in getting around the city whether it be through availability and regularity of transport, physical barriers or knowing what is available. For transport to be Age-friendly, older people in Bristol need to have good access to different ways of getting around the city and should feel confident using these facilities.
It is important to think about a variety of methods of transport including buses, trains, taxis, community transport as well as active travel options such as walking and cycling. Bristol has built a name for itself as being a cycling city with over 26 million trips made by bike in Bristol during 2017. In our conversations with older people, cycling is often given as both a good example of getting around and keeping fit, and a common obstacle for older people trying to navigate the city.
In June 2018 Bristol Ageing Better held the event Age-friendly Transport: Are We There Yet? The purpose of this event was to hear the views and experiences of people in Bristol and together learn about the barriers to Age-friendly transport and the possible short-term and long-term solutions. Much of the learning from this event has informed the actions below.
For those with mobility difficulties or who feel unsteady on their feet, walking around the local area can be a barrier to getting other forms of transport. For example, uneven pavements, cars parked on the pavement and a lack of dropped curbs can make it difficult to walk to the bus stop.
Some older people felt that they lacked the confidence to ride around the city and others reported that some key cycling routes in the city centre are unsafe, other routes are safer for cyclists but people are unaware of them. People often automatically cycle the same route that they would take in a car and are unaware of alternative routes that are safer and more appropriate for cyclists.
There have been some recent improvements to the cycling infrastructure in the city, for example there are now more cycle racks available and more traffic-free cycle routes. The council is encouraging cycling as a form of transport by continuing to invest in it. The 20mph speed limits have also made cycling a safer activity. Similarly, there has been an increase in the availability of electric bikes, which make cycling more accessible for older people.
The 20mph speed limits have also made cycling a safer activity. Similarly, there has been an increase in the availability of electric bikes, which make cycling more accessible for older people
For some, Community transport services are the only time they leave the house or have a conversation with others. In this way, community transport plays a role in reducing loneliness and isolation. There are currently a large number of community transport providers – 45 in the West of England Combined Authority area however, many of these providers are at maximum capacity and find it difficult to meet the increasing demand for their services.
73% of 2017 Quality of Life survey respondents aged 50+ believed that traffic congestion was a problem locally. Traffic congestion has implications for all forms of transport, including driving, public transport, community transport and walking