Injuries to older users of buses in the UK

The increasing age of the United Kingdom (UK) population coupled with enhanced life expectancy impacts on transport-user demographics and will affect transport planning in the years ahead. Whilst passenger car use is the ultimate means of personal independence, at some point the physiological and psychological impact of age-related conditions will inevitably shift people out of their vehicles and onto public transport systems. Overall, public transport is seen to be vital for social inclusion (Lucas et al 2008) and it is considered a safe means of mobility. However, it is important that the public and, in particular, the elderly perceive it to be so. Injuries (across a spectrum of severities) do occur during public transport use from time to time. In fact, over 5,000 people are injured on UK buses each year alone with over 300 bus-users killed/seriously injured (Department for Transport, 2012). This study was designed to examine the nature of injuries and their causes to older bus-users with the aim being to establish where design countermeasures may be indicated. The study uses descriptive statistics to analyse linked (accident and injury) data involving a sample of older bus-users. Most incidents in the linked dataset were non-collisions (62 per cent) resulting in 1,381 recorded injuries in those aged 60+ years, of which 46 per cent were 'slight' and 54 per cent 'serious'.