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Publication Detail
Developing tools to identify and overcome barriers to walking among older people
  • Publication Type:
    Conference presentation
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Anciaes PR, Jones P, Boniface S, Dhanani A, Scholes S, Mindell J
  • Date:
  • Status:
  • Name of Conference:
    14th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED 2015), Lisbon
  • Conference place:
    Lisbon, Portugal
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
The presence of large transport infrastructure and motorized traffic may limit the mobility of older people, as concerns about collisions and feelings of fear and general unpleasantness due to the exposure to traffic may be a deterrent to walking to nearby places. The resulting effects on social networks have been identified in the landmark study of Appleyard and Lintell in a North American city, while the effects of social networks on health and mortality are also well-demonstrated, but no studies have focused on the relationships between the reduction in social contacts and the health conditions and wellbeing of individuals in communities affected by traffic or transport infrastructure. This paper introduces the Street Mobility and Network Accessibility project, an ongoing research project developing practical tools to enable policy-makers, urban designers and community groups to identify and overcome barriers to walking among older people. The project, based in the UK, is funded by three research councils (EPSRC/ESRC/AHRC) and adopts a multidisciplinary approach, involving researchers from the fields of public health, epidemiology, statistics, economics, transport geography, planning, space syntax, anthropology, and participatory action research. The first part of the paper describes how the methods used by the different disciplines are being integrated and related to strategies for stakeholder and community engagement. The performances of the road and street networks are assessed using video surveys of pedestrian behaviour, auditing of pedestrian infrastructure, and space syntax analysis. Local residents also map their patterns of movement and barriers to mobility in community workshops. A questionnaire was developed to capture individuals’ social networks in their neighbourhood, existing travel behaviour, and suppressed demand due to barriers to mobility. A separate stated preference survey measures the economic benefits of reducing those barriers. The results of the analyses are then discussed with the community and local stakeholders The second part of the paper describes the attributes of the problem in two of the neighbourhoods used to develop the tools, both in the Greater London area. In the first case study (Woodberry Down), the limitations to mobility arise because the neighbourhood is surrounded by physical barriers on all sides, including roads, a canal, and water reservoirs. In addition, the neighbourhood is divided by a busy road with a limited number of formal pedestrian crossings. The potential for walking is also limited by the small number of shops and other services within the area, while social networks are affected by the ongoing regeneration of the neighbourhood, creating a divide between the older, less affluent, original residents, and the younger, more affluent new residents. In the second case study (Finchley Road), the limitations to mobility arise from the presence of a busy road with guard rails and height differences separating pedestrian pavements from the carriageway. Mobility is also restricted by the hilly terrain on one side of the road. These barriers limit the access of local populations to local shops but noise and air pollution appear to be a greater disincentive .
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