Before breakfast on Sunday 1st November we learnt that the new funding deal for Transport for London (TfL) did not include cuts or additional restrictions on older Londoners’ travel concessions (primarily the Older Persons’ Freedom Pass and the 60+ Oyster card). The previous 48-hours had been a time of anxious waiting.
“Each year, almost 4,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets, taking a devastating toll on the people involved, their families and communities across the capital. More worryingly still, people from more deprived areas, some ethnic minorities, disabled people, children and older people are disproportionately affected by road danger.”
One year ago, the Mayor, TfL and Metropolitan Police launched the Vision Zero Action Plan, a bold strategy to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads. In this week’s blog we take a look at the action plan and see what’s next for Vision Zero.
“Despite its disproportionate size and subsidies from central government, London’s transport infrastructure and built environment can often feel hostile for older people, especially those experiencing disability or chronic illness. Older people need better information on the options and help available to them, transport staff need better training on how to accommodate an assist older people, and the wider public must better understand and accommodate the needs of older people.”
An accessible and affordable transport network is a vital feature of an Age-friendly City. Philip Corran, a researcher at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, discusses the difficulties older Londoners face with everyday travel focusing on how they overcome the obstacles they face and the impact these challenges have on their health and wellbeing.
“So what does this look like in practice? There isn’t one template for what makes a healthy street but common approaches now being taken across London include reducing traffic speeds, installing pedestrian crossings, widening pavements and, increasingly, closing residential streets to motor traffic. On larger roads and at dangerous junctions it also means segregating cyclists from traffic with protected lanes and facilities.”
Will Norman, Walking & Cycling Commissioner at the Greater London Authority explains how the Healthy Streets initiative will help make London safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike.
“Part of the reasoning TfL presents is an acknowledgement that having more older people in London will lead to an increased need for the transport network to be accessible, and that it must be a priority to provide a good experience for public transport passengers. Quite a few of the policy proposals in the strategy mention that they are aimed to benefit older and disabled people. TfL also argues that major new developments like Crossrail 2 are needed to prevent existing transport services from being swamped by increased passenger numbers in future. Overall, the proposals give the impression that the future transport system will have to develop and improve radically, not just proceed through gradual tweaks.”
Transport has often been a top issue that older people have raised with Age UK London. Gordon Deuchars runs the rule over the Mayor’s new Transport Strategy.
“When Susie proposed the Techy Tea Parties as a volunteering opportunity for our team, I didn’t hesitate to participate. I thought that it would be an excellent opportunity to provide a service to older people and learn from them at the same time.”
Last week, Susanna Bass of Transport for London wrote about setting up a Techy Tea Party for older Londoners here at Age UK London. This week, Susanna’s colleague Carmen Muriana Cobo discusses her experience of the day’s events.
“We started the event off with tea, cake and biscuits, and as our guests arrived, my colleagues and I started introducing ourselves and having a chat. I met some fascinating people; someone who used to be a bus driver from the days before our organisation was called ‘TfL’, a lady who was really interested in sociology and how people’s behaviour towards travel was changing, right through to a gentleman who admitted he wasn’t really interested in technology but was just there for the cake!”
Last month, Susanna Bass brought a team of volunteers from Transport for London to one of our Techy Tea Parties and helped to teach digital skills to older Londoners. In this week’s blog, Susanna discusses her experience and explains why these events are so important.
Official figures show that older people are very much over-represented among pedestrians killed on London roads. This came out at a meeting I was at recently between Transport for London (TfL) and charities and campaign groups, looking at how to improve pedestrians’ safety. Share this post: Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Print for later Tell a friend