Home » Seniors took part in the „Mobility through all ages“ EU Mobility week event in Turku
The European Mobility Week 2019 was held on 16–22 September. Turku city organized a 3-day event at HUB Turku and on one of the days the focus of the event was specifically on seniors. The GreenSAM project partners Valonia and Turku University of Applied Sciences as well as the associated partner Föli Turku Region Public Transport Authority took part in organising the „Mobility through all ages“ seminar. The event was open for everyone interested and seniors and stakeholders were invited to participate.
The day started with several specialist presentations. Mobility expert Paula Väisänen from Valonia introduced green mobility and the goals to reduce traffic emissions. She talked about mobility management and gave examples of green mobility modes, such as public transport, public bike sharing and carpooling. She also showed statistics of the modal split in Turku city (2016) – the distribution of transport modes is: 29 % walking, 10 % cycling, 10 % public transport, 49 % private car and 3 % other modes. Elias Ruutti from the Finnish Road Safety Council pointed out in his presentation that safety in transportation equals economical efficiency. Only safe trips count as successful and in traffic the only aim is to reach the destination safely, no matter the mode of transport. Teemu Hyytiä from TUAS Mobility Lab talked about physical health and exercise and introduced the useful services for the elderly in Turku.
Different organisations provided information about safe, healthy and green mobility to the audience at their stands. Participants were able to try the AgeMan® suit, which gives its user an experience of what it feels like to be a physically restricted senior who can’t see, hear or move with full potential.
Silja Ngobese from Valonia presented the results of the GreenSAM workshop „Better public transportation to seniors“, held on 11th June together with TUAS and Föli. The workshop was successful with 43 participants, both public transportation users and non-users between 65 and 76 years. The aim of the workshop was to hear seniors‘ views on the local public transportation system, collect data and involve the user group in planning the upcoming pilot “Mentoring Model”. The results are important for developing local age-friendly PT services further: the participants shared their views on availability, accessibility, acceptability and affordability etc. of public transportation.
As an example of a popular topic, the distance between the bus stops emerged in most group discussions. Another issue that came up several times was that travelling with a rollator should be free of charge in PT. In this regard, Föli has already received positive feedback of their trial of free travels for rollator users.
Regarding travel information, most participants used the paper version of timetable book. Some used the digital route guide smoothly and others were interested in using it. For some, the browser route guide was already familiar and easy to use. Some were interested in using it but found it hard to familiarize it without a guidance. The Föli mobile application was unfamiliar to almost everyone. Thematic days to advice on the use of web services and applications were suggested during the workshop.
The senior bus service lines are very important, and more service hours were suggested. Especially the service line buses should be accessable and low-floored for accessibility. In wintertime the bus stops are often difficult to access due to snow and therefore attention should be paid to the maintenance.
Seniors‘ ideas how to implement and develop the mentoring model were very valuable. In theiropinion the network of peer coaches/mentors should be easy to join and being part of the voluntary group of mentors should be simple. The message of the model and activities could be spreaded via the elderly associations, organisations and media.
Most of the user group members of our upcoming „Mentoring Model“ trial was present. They are called peer coaches or Föli guides, hence they are active public transport users. They learned to know each other while discussing about their experience and knowledge on local Föli services. Together the group was also reflecting ways to find the less-experienced and non-PT-users who are in need of mentoring.
The seminar ended with a very interesting panel discussion with the topic „Age-friendliness in public transport development“. Members of the panel were: Sirpa Korte, Public Transport Director; Soili Raitanen, vice chairperson of the Elderly Committee of Turku; Anu Perho, chairperson of the Public Transport Board of Turku Region; Jarkko Toivonen, Region Director at Savonlinja traffic operator and Jyri Kuparinen, Accessibility Coordinator of Turku. The results of the workshop listed above were discussed as well as the views of the panelists representing stakeholders. It was noted that it is important for the elderly to have their voice heard in decision-making and to participate in the planning of public transportation.
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