The role of Public Transport in addressing Sustainable Mobility for the Elderly Population in Malta
Elderly population, Public transport, Spatial and temporal accessibility, Barriers in public transport, Luqa
Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 1 Iss. 2 - October 2013
Over the past few years, several countries have continued experiencing a growth in their elderly population. Similarly, a number of towns and villages in Malta registered a high elderly population in the last census (NSO, 2012). The elderly people are one of the dominant `transport disadvantaged' groups in the community. This research aims to analyse whether the current public transport system in Malta is providing effective and efficient mobility for elderly in the town of Luqa. In order to analyse this, the study analysed spatial accessibility, sought to identify barriers encountered by the elderly when using public transport and determine temporal accessibility to medical care. Data was collected using telephone surveys, travel time and bus frequency surveys. Statistical analysis was carried out using IBM SPSS 20 and Geographic Information Systems. The study showed that proximity to bus stops in Luqa does not affect public transport use amongst the elderly. The main barriers that elderly encounter when using public transport are mainly related to long waiting times, lack of comfort on bus stops and inaccessible travel information. Finally, temporal accessibility from Luqa to the State's general hospital, Mater Dei, still requires improvements as it does not meet the desired time budgets of elderly people. By identifying the main concerns this study seeks to encourage policy makers and planners to target future development in public transport taking into consideration the requirements of the growing elderly population.