The digital economy offers a framework to develop transport solutions for disabled and older people that support mobility, enabling the maintenance of lifestyle choices and inclusion in new activities. Initial research within the Inclusive Transport activity will focus on private and public transport for the elderly.
Private Car: Older drivers often show decreasing motor, sensorial and cognitive capabilities. They have to implement specific strategies to reduce the challenges caused by driving; such as avoiding unknown areas and not driving at night or in bad weather conditions. Technology can be harnessed to assist the challenges posed by driving in today’s traffic conditions whether in an urban or rural environment.
There are three strands to our research on elderly drivers:
(1) measuring the driver’s behaviour by comparing it to reference data (for the same driving context) and providing feedback to improve safety and driving economy;
(2) driver assistance systems that can both intervene to reduce the risk of an accident occurring and, if an accident occurs, minimise the overall severity; and
(3) co-operative vehicle systems that allow vehicles to communicate with each other and with the roadside infrastructure to provide information that allows users to make better informed travel decisions.
Our goal is to implement a suite of technologies in a test-bed, including in-car sensors, distributed ad-hoc wireless networks, and an intelligent infrastructure.
Public Transport systems must be physically accessible and easy to use, especially for disabled and older people who may not have access to a car or don‘t want to drive. This includes the vehicles themselves but also the transport infrastructure (stations, airports, ticket machines, etc.) and on-street approaches. Pre-trip planning should be quick and simple, and on-trip planning should be available so that people can make adjustments to their journey for whatever reason (social, emergency, or change of plan).
Our research will contribute towards the development of a personalized, seamless, multi-modal travel information system to help vulnerable people make safe, affordable journeys using public transport.