This chapter presents a review of community transport in Australia with the aim of providing material for comparative research in flexible transport.
Research on Australian community transport has been brought together to present an analysis of the key features of the industry: history; geography; funding; regulation and the use of volunteers.
Each key feature has led to the current strong state/territory basis for service organisation and delivery, despite the federal responsibility for supplying most of the funding and ensuring equity and standards. Varying approaches to regulation and supply have also been driven by remoteness and the prevalence of large pockets of entrenched social disadvantage in some regions.
The chapter summarises research findings including hitherto unpublished research on an application of flexible transport services outside mainstream public transport operations in Australia.
Travel and mobility for older people has typically focussed on the practical benefits to the individual, for example, in meeting utilitarian needs of shopping…
Travel and mobility for older people has typically focussed on the practical benefits to the individual, for example, in meeting utilitarian needs of shopping, appointments and staying connected to family and friends. However, previous research has hinted that travel for its own sake, to get out and about and feel and experience mobility, may be just as important for older people and is especially missed when individuals give-up driving. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
This paper examines travel for its own sake, usually referred to as discretionary travel, interviewing 20 older people in each of three different contexts: for drivers, for community transport users and for non-drivers who receive lifts from family and friends.
Older people not only enjoy discretionary travel, but also feel it is beneficial to their health and wellbeing. The car and especially driving, is seen as the best way to fulfil discretionary travel. Community transport users do fulfil discretionary travel needs but these are over formalised and lack spontaneity affecting feelings of control and identity. Receiving lifts from family and friends can often result in older people feeling a burden to the providers of the lifts especially when travel is viewed as discretionary.
More needs to be done to ensure discretionary travel needs are met for those without cars, highlighting the importance of such travel to community transport providers and helping reduce the feeling of being a burden to family and friends.
Policy, practice and research has tended to focus on transport as a means to an end. However, older people themselves value mobility just as much for its own sake and just to view nature. Such discretionary reasons for mobility are actually very important for health and wellbeing of older people and need more attention.
In this article we consider community well‐being and new approaches to reinvigorating partnership working for older people's services. In particular, we focus on improving…
In this article we consider community well‐being and new approaches to reinvigorating partnership working for older people's services. In particular, we focus on improving transport for older people. We draw on findings from a series of public consultations, group discussions and interviews with older people in 10 purposively selected localities in England. Although there was great diversity in the issues raised by older people on the subject of transport, both across and between the sites, we point to a number of core analytical themes which could assist commissioners in developing a citizens' framework designed to address this traditionally ‘wicked’ issue.
Purpose — This chapter considers how transport policy and planning has been developing in Victoria in tandem with the research program described elsewhere in this book. Developments in policy and planning are discussed with particular regard to transport disadvantage and social inclusion.
Methodology — The chapter commences by providing a policy and planning context in terms of the geography and demography of travel needs, the relevant jurisdictional responsibilities in Australia and the policy history. It then describes the evolution of transport policy in the past decade and outlines the way in which the findings of this research are being incorporated into the development of programs and projects to support social inclusion. Additionally, some key policy challenges are outlined, at least some of which may provide fruitful areas for undertaking further research to support the development of future policies and programs.
Findings — The results show that applied research can be a highly successful endeavour, particularly when policy and planning perspectives are integrated into the development of the research design and strong collaboration is an ongoing feature of the research program.
The chapter presents experiences of volunteers to organise and operate public transport services in Germany. A brief overview of the practical issues and a discussion of…
The chapter presents experiences of volunteers to organise and operate public transport services in Germany. A brief overview of the practical issues and a discussion of the possibilities and limitations is given.
The work is based on the author’s experience as a consultant and researcher in the field.
Approximately 250 Bürgerbus presently exist, mainly in rural areas where everyday operations are carried out by a group of volunteers. Service planning is done in partnership with local authorities and transport providers, and benefits from the volunteers’ local knowledge. The services use small vehicles and have a complementary function in the transport system. They primarily cater to local shopping and leisure journeys and, although available to the general public, are predominantly used by pensioners. In recent years, the original concept has evolved and a much greater variety can now be seen.
Beyond providing mobility, the establishment of a Bürgerbus service is an important community achievement and contributes to social cohesion. Variations in the general popularity of volunteering can also be seen in the differing numbers of Bürgerbus schemes in the German regions.
Civic engagement is an important resource for community life, which can also be used for improving mobility. However, experience shows that the professional public transport industry and transport policy must understand the volunteers’ motivations, provide a suitable framework and support to develop concepts tailored to local needs.
Purpose — This chapter considers some key policy implications of the research described in this book on links between transport disadvantage, social exclusion and well-being.
Methodology — Two high-level policy frameworks are outlined and some research results are viewed through the lenses of these frameworks. The two frameworks are (1) place-based versus functional approaches and (2) economic versus social approaches.
Findings — Transport, land use and outreach opportunities are outlined as possible ways to tackle problems of transport disadvantage that may adversely impact social exclusion and well-being. These require place-based approaches. Difficulties in making the switch from traditional functionally based policy thinking to place-based, integrated approaches are highlighted. These difficulties pose a challenge for effective reduction in transport disadvantage and its associated risks of social exclusion and diminished well-being.
The chapter also shows how the traditional economic cost–benefit approach to transport policy becomes much closer to a social policy approach when the research results about the value of improved trip making, as it affects risks of social exclusion, are incorporated in the analysis. Minimum public transport service levels are suggested as meeting both economic and social policy goals in this regard. Community transport is seen as an effective way to tackle some problems of transport disadvantage but as possibly posing risks of entrenched exclusion for some.
Bus use in later life tends to increase, especially in countries where there is cheaper or free travel on buses for older people. That said, there are still many barriers to bus use. The most major barrier for older people is feeling unsafe on the bus, especially at night. Accessibility issues are also important, with concerns for step-free access and getting a seat. A bus driver driving off before the older person has sat down is another major concern for older people. The presence of a friendly helpful, understanding bus driver is seen as a huge benefit for older people. Training to support bus drivers in providing an age friendly service are therefore highly recommended. In many countries, public transport is supplemented by community transport offering a door-to-door on demand facility to help older people stay mobile where there is a lack of accessible public buses. There are real advantages for older people using such buses, especially creating a safe environment taking older people to important places, such as hospitals or shops. Such services can be supplemented by journeys for days out and these are very popular with users. Older people aren’t large users of railway services. Barriers include concerns over getting a seat, worry about what happens if connections are missed and services are disrupted. Older people are more likely to want staff to help them complete their journey and emphasise the need for seats, cleanliness and facilities over journey length and cost.
Older people are reported to be the largest group to suffer from mobility deprivation. This paper reviews the literature relating to the mobility of older people in the…
Older people are reported to be the largest group to suffer from mobility deprivation. This paper reviews the literature relating to the mobility of older people in the context of transport opportunities and provision. The findings show that older people regard car ownership as an aid to independence and mobility. Car ownership is considered the norm and a necessity in rural areas. However within Wales, older people are more likely to be on a low income and live in a rural area, and are less likely to have a car than the rest of the population. Mobility, hearing and visual problems have a higher prevalence in the older population, rendering the use of public transport problematic. Difficulties include problems with getting on and off buses, difficulties with reading passenger information, missing information and communicating with service personnel. Improved access to public transport for older and disabled people can make a major contribution to the financial and social independence of this large and growing sector of the population (TRL Project Report, 1994) and will further promote the social inclusion of older people into society.