European policies regarding the elderly
aim at maintaining their mobility as this is a central element
of their integration in society. Senior citizens want to
lead an autonomous and independent life (everything from
shopping to visiting friends) as much and as long as possible
without the help of others (for example the family). Losing
the ability to participate in outdoor activities can create
a vicious circle of immobility, implying that an important
stimulus for the elderly to remain active vanishes. This
regularly leads to passivity and loss of competence which
affects health. This, in turn may induce still greater isolation
and passivity. Thus, the provision of transport and mobility
for the elderly is a central societal goal. The introduction
above leads to the formulation of the following general
objectives of our work:
To explain and
describe the present mobility and transport situation,
the problems, needs and wishes of different groups of
senior citizens from their own perspective compared with
experts’ points of view (“experts” being
sociologists, psychologists, traffic experts, experts
on gerontology, architects and urban designers, urban
planners, politicians, policy makers, experts of other
related EU projects, etc.)
To motivate action
by the authorities and other relevant groups in society
who are, or feel, responsible in this area, among others
by making discrepancies in problem identification transparent;
To identify relevant
solutions for existing problems and to provide guidance
for setting up and implementing policies aimed at “keeping
the elderly mobile”.
These objectives imply
a user-oriented approach. The user-oriented approach calls
most of all for an analysis of how senior citizens, or different
groups of them, perceive today's transport and mobility preconditions.
According to communication theories (reflected for example
by the marketing model) measures should be built on that analysis.
It is a fact, though, that many measures that the users would
appreciate are not implemented in practice. This is often
the case because the responsible persons or groups –
we summarise them under the title "decision makers and
experts" here – do not consider implementation
feasible. However, we also have the strong suspicion that
decision makers and experts often do not really know the needs
and interests of groups who are affected by their work, or
they have erroneous assumptions about them.
Thus, when analysing
user needs and interests, matters of feasibility and barriers
to implementation, we will look at both groups, and their
respective subgroups: senior citizens, and decision makers
and experts who in some way deal with transport and mobility
matters that affect senior citizens. The focus has to be on
better understanding of the mobility problems of elderly citizens:
How do they
cope with the limitations of old age?
the positive sides of today’s situation, from their
own point of view? What should be kept as
the negative sides of today’s situation?
have the potential, and which measures are necessary,
to improve their situation?
measures be feasible and realistic?
measures that, at least in words, are considered useful
either by senior citizens, or by decision
makers and experts, or by both groups,
from being implemented?
The recommendations developed
in SIZE will lead to implementations, and effects of implementations,
which can – and should – be measured with the
help of the instruments developed in SIZE, even after the
lifetime of the project. Secondly, when applied for status-quo
assessment, the qualitative, user-oriented part of our instruments
should provide the basis for the development of measures to
improve both physical and legal preconditions, and to adapt
communication policy. Transport and mobility preconditions
will improve the life quality of senior citizens if they are
shaped according to the needs and interests of the different
groups of senior citizens, and if information about existing
options and possibilities is distributed accordingly.
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| The Project
| Results | Conference
05 | Conference 06