Large transport infrastructure and motorised traffic limit the mobility of older people. The unpleasant experience of being exposed to traffic and concerns about safety deter elderly from going for a walk to nearby places.
Such physical or psychological barriers are known as ‘community severance’ or as ‘the barrier effect’. The causes are large infrastructure, large volumes of traffic or traffic with high speed.
The Street Mobility and Network Accessibility project, is an on-going research project overcome barriers to walking among older people. This autumn, the project studied four cases of community severance in the UK, including in SUNRISE partner Southend-on-Sea. This has resulted in a toolkit on overcoming community severance which is now available.
The projects researchers have different backgrounds: public health, epidemiology, statistics, economics, transport geography, planning, space syntax, anthropology, and participatory action research. To learn about pedestrian behaviour and infrastructure, they used methods such as video analysis, infrastructure auditing, mapping workshop, surveys and space syntax analysis.