Start by locating recreational and social services within communities where people live rather than in commercial clusters accessible only by car or transit.
Rethinking the way the city uses existing spaces, such as schools and community centers, for example, can spur creation of new community hubs. Co-locating services and social outlets could help foster civic inclusion without requiring extensive travel by car or on transit. For many times of the day and year, public schools remain unused. Such existing infrastructure can be used for community events, at once maximizing capacity use while reducing the distance citizens must travel to remain engaged in civic life.
Making the City age-friendly requires rethinking the way we use our existing resources as much as it does the way we design our communities.
Regardless of how many options the city provides for transit, older citizens will not benefit if affordability is not addressed.
Transit policies must address the financial limitations of older people on fixed income and can mitigate financial barriers for older citizens by adopting the measures such as:
• Senior bus pass program such as the BC/Calgary income tested bus pass programs that provide yearly passes for under $100
• Issue taxi vouchers to low income seniors.
• Free shuttle buses
Fostering the creation of community hubs that minimize the need to travel at all can also make participating in civic life more affordable.
If transit times and needs are reduced and existing infrastructure and resources are properly utilized, the cost of remaining engaged will decrease. Access and affordability are essential features of an Age-Friendly City; older citizens, both long-time residents and newcomers, must be able to navigate the city with ease and confidence while also being an integral part of their local community.
Keywords: seniors, mobility, community