Technological innovations and new mobilties: Attitudes and values of older people.
We hear much about how new technology is going to help older people with their mobility. Whether it is driverless cars, so that older people can get the same mobility without the worry of having to give up driving, or improved public transport offerings with better technology, such a real-time transport information (to show live delays, departures and arrivals), smart ticketing (integrating ticketing between services), interfaces between technology and enhanced taxi services (e.g. taxi services enhanced through technology such as Uber, Lyft), and the fabled mobility as a service (provision of different transport services as one, bringing together taxis, car park charges, train tickets, bus fares as one payment through one portal), the future of hi-tech or digital integration should improve mobility for older people I have carried out focus groups research with older people looking at their attitudes to these innovations and talked briefly about their own innovations to support mobility. I was struck by how older people wanted to keep things relatively low-tech and simple and that mobility didn’t always need to be replaced by exact and literal mobility. They were already doing stuff that replaced the need to be quite so mobile, for example eshopping and getting things delivered and were also using Skype and FaceTime to stay connected to family a long way from where they lived. Transport innovation stemming from the individuals themselves is relatively low-tech and is often in the form of social capital, supporting others in their mobility needs in their practical, emotional and pleasurable mobility experiences. This included doing e-shopping for taking in the parcels for the street, coordinate others’ lifts or being a volunteer driver. There was mixed feelings with regards to other transport innovations in the pipeline. Generally, there was support for technology that improved real time information for buses or trains, as long as it wasn’t at the expense of a reduction in frontline staff. There was a general dislike for innovations that would result in more shared mobility. Older people liked the idea of better integration of services, especially if this can be guaranteed. People could see the potential for mobility as a service to be useful in helping with this.