As we age, access to transportation becomes even more crucial, as it enables us to remain connected to social networks, maintain mental and physical health and reduce social isolation. In order to address this issue, the City of Montreal announced that public transit will be free for seniors starting in July. A group of researchers at McGill University’s School of Urban Planning is conducting an ongoing survey of older adults to better understand their daily travel needs , and to explore the relationship between travel and wellness. They found that seniors surveyed in Montreal were mostly aware of the free transit announcement (79%), and 40% said they will use transit more often once it’s free. After surveying 2,450 seniors from Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax, and Saskatoon, the researchers also found that 95% of respondents with a valid driver’s license wished to be able to travel independently as they got older. 74% found that daily travel had a positive impact on their quality of life. -A better understanding of what daily travel means to older people is essential, and this research can help us grasp how well Canadian transport systems serve their current and future needs. These initial findings certainly point to the need for public transit to better answer older Canadians- needs as they age and ensure they can get where they need to without driving,- said project lead and PhD candidate Meredith Alousi-Jones. The research will be used to help public transport providers design services that help older Canadians age comfortably, safely, and happily.
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