Improving Safety for Older Public Transport Users

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Loughborough Design School

Abstract

Older people generally become more dependent upon public transport in later life as their ownership and use of passenger cars becomes more difficult. Therefore, it is necessary that they perceive the public transport system as safe. However, preventable injuries do occur during public transport use and this feasibility study will examine how these injuries are caused in a sample of accidents involving public transport vehicles (in the East Midlands of England), the effect that design engineering has upon them and how injuries could be prevented by engineering solutions.

Technical Summary

The increasing general age of the UK population coupled with enhanced life expectancy will have an impact on transport-user demographics and in turn will impact on transport planning in the years ahead. Whist personal car use is seen as the ultimate means of independence, at some point the physiological and psychological impact of age-related conditions will inevitably remove people out of their vehicles and onto the public transport system. Overall, public transport is seen to be vital for social inclusion (Lucas et al 2008, Rowntree Foundation) and it is generally considered as a safe means of mobility. However, it is extremely important that the public perceive it to be so. This is particularly the case for the elderly who may be especially reliant on it to function normally within society if they reach the point whereby personal car-use is no longer an option.

However, injuries to older public transport users do occur and sometimes these may be severe. These in turn can impact on the public perception of public transport. Therefore, this is a multi-disciplinary pilot study which aims to look at the feasibility of developing a tool for assessing the mechanisms of injuries to older public transport users and how they can be mitigated.

The overall outcome will be a pilot database whose capability will be demonstrated as an injury surveillance system for older public transport users. Once the value of a system has been highlighted, the long-term intention is that the surveillance system can be used to determine injury mechanisms during public transport usage and how they can be addressed through design or operational changes.

The study will involve the use of record-linkage involving medical records from the Accident and Emergency Departments of the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) and the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. These medical records will be linked to accident reports from the UK Police, the Local Service Operators, the Health and Safety Executive and other authorities.

The study will also include the piloting of an investigation protocol for accidents involving older public transport users to assess the feasibility of a widespread activity. The study will also undertake cost-benefit analyses in respect of regulatory actions and design changes that may be introduced as a result of the data analyses.
 
Title OPTU Database 
Description The database involves linked records of accident data with hospital data so that the analyst can look at specific scenarios that cause injuries 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The database has been used extensively in the analysis undertaken within the research project. 
 
Description Collaboration with Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI) 
Organisation Monash University
Department Monash Injury Research Institute
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The research team is collaborating with MIRI on the project - the MIRI is ttempting to 'mirror' the data analysis udertaken on UK accidents within Australia
Collaborator Contribution The partners in the project have reviewed the outputs from MIRI to compare them to the outputs from the Older Public Transport Users project
Impact An unpublished draft report is available - Analysis of Injuries to Young and Old Victorian Public Transport Users: 2006 to 2010
Start Year 2011
 
Description Collaborations between Loughborough, Leicester and Nottingham Universities 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution THe research team collaborated on many aspects of the project and tasks were distributed according to the specific skills and strengths. Loughborough University was the lead partner and co-ordinated the inputs from the other partners
Collaborator Contribution Nottingham and Leicester Universities made contributions to the project which were co-ordinated by Loughborugh University
Impact Numerous papers have either been published or are in press. the collaboration is mostly multi-disciplinary
Start Year 2011
 
Description Collaborations between Loughborough, Leicester and Nottingham Universities 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department School of Health Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution THe research team collaborated on many aspects of the project and tasks were distributed according to the specific skills and strengths. Loughborough University was the lead partner and co-ordinated the inputs from the other partners
Collaborator Contribution Nottingham and Leicester Universities made contributions to the project which were co-ordinated by Loughborugh University
Impact Numerous papers have either been published or are in press. the collaboration is mostly multi-disciplinary
Start Year 2011
 
Description Public and Patient Information Forum 
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK)
Department Leicester Public and Patient Information Forum (PPI)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We have made a presenetation about the project to this forum in February 2012
Collaborator Contribution the partners contributed to the preparation of the presentation
Impact No outputs to date
Start Year 2012
 
Description Growing Old and Staying Mobile (GOAL) workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Immediate goals and strategy were determined to focus future research at the European level that would beenfit the UK older population too.

This workshop was fed into the action plan from the GOAL project for the future directions of research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.goal-project.eu
 
Description Meeting/workshop with Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Regional managersof the PTEG attended the meeting and presentation about the study to generate discussion and access to data and other relevant stakeholders in this area.

Dissemination fo the the study to wider stakeholders and further links with bus companies and potential data sources for future research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description University Visit by Delegation of Chinese Transport Professionals 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation about the project to a party of visitors from China who have a problem with older people using pubic transport (especially trains) in the Chinese cities - they were looking for advice as to what to do.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Visit to University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussions with London TravelWatch as to how the results of the study could be exploted within Transport for London for safe transportation of older people
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017