Dr. G Kaveri is a lecturer in the department of Early Childhood Education at the Singapore University of Social Sciences where she has been a full time faculty member from 2016. She completed her Ph.D at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Dr Kaveri currently works with both pre-service and in-service early childhood educators from varied settings, and is also involved in supervising undergraduate applied projects. Her research interests focus on sustainability education, home-school partnerships and intergenerational learning.
Public transport accessibility in Singapore: A qualitative study of 60 senior commuters in Singapore
Dr Grace Chee is a Senior Lecturer in the SR Nathan School of Human Development Social Work Programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
She earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Bachelor of Science degrees from Michigan State University. Her Masters in Social Work was from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Currently, she teaches the full-time social work undergraduate students. Her research interests focus on qualitative methodologies, Asian and ethnic adolescents, bullying and cyberbullying, grandparenting, and topics around ethnicity and identity.
G. Kaveri, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore
Grace Chee, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore
Kalyani K. Mehta, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore
Singapore, like many nations, witnesses a rising number and proportion of older persons aged 60 and above. In addition, a raise in the retirement age from 62-65, and re-employment age from 67 to 70 by 2030 along with the city-state’s consistent efforts to promote the use of public transport undoubtedly suggest the potential increase in senior public transport commuters, hence validating a need to understand their travel experiences. Set against this context, a 10-month long study funded by Singapore’s Public Transport Council was conducted to gather the perspectives of seniors aged 60 years and above.
Guided by the person in environment framework, this study shed light on how seniors are influenced by ease of barrier-free mobility in their environment, thus enabling a better understanding of the preferences for transport modes. The 60 senior participants were recruited from two constituencies, i.e., Marine Parade and Tanjong Pagar. These two constituencies were selected based on their higher representation of older adults and availability of diverse transport services. Data for this study was gathered through travel diaries, go-alongs, focus group discussions, and a short survey that complemented the qualitative methods. The triangulation of data from these methods allowed capturing the richness of the seniors’ travel experiences and their perspectives, thus providing a comprehensive understanding of their travel needs.
The analyses of data presented a deeper and nuanced understanding of travel preferences of seniors that included psychosocial environment, accessibility, availability, affordability, and wellness, thus offering key insights for the transport sector that will continue to address the diverse needs of the ageing population in Singapore. Information and infrastructural accessibility are the focus of this paper. This refers, respectively, to the relative ease with which seniors are able to access information and how the built infrastructure facilitates seniors’ access to public transport. Seniors in the study reported the usefulness of bus applications, visual and audio announcements that enabled a smooth travel experience. For example, the bus applications assisted seniors to monitor the arrival of buses. Similarly, the video and audio announcements in the bus and MRT provided the necessary information that assisted seniors to alight at the correct stop/station, thus ensuring a smooth travel journey for the seniors. A challenge some seniors reported with regards to infrastructural accessibility was the provision of lifts and access to overhead bridges. This posed a challenge particularly to seniors with mobility issues. In addition to the themes, a close examination of data presented mediating factors that included time constraints, location of destinations, functional limitations, and weather conditions.
The paper also presents the voices of seniors, i.e., their perspectives on how to improve public transport system based on their travel experiences, with implications for policy and research.