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Australia 2050 - what will the population of Australia look like in 2050 and how can we manage the

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2004 Australasian Transport Research Forum Keynote address Population futures and implications for society As the title indicates, I’ve NOT been asked to talk about transport, which is just as well since I have no expertise on the subject, while you have lots. However I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the area of population ageing and its implications for the transport industry, and I’ve become quite fascinated with the topic – if you’ll forgive a novice’s understanding of the industry itself I’m going to weave these into my talk here and there. I’m going to begin with an overview of what is causing population ageing, and what this means for population growth and so on. I find this a particularly important place to start, because it provides an indication of the degree of confidence with which you can anticipate the various dimensions of population ageing. Once you understand these dimensions and what we might think of as their ‘confidence levels’, you are much better placed to respond. As I have argued in a soon-to-be-published paper on local government funding, I feel particularly strongly that governments need to gear their funding ahead of the unfolding ‘ageing game’, rather than behind it. SLIDE 2 – Numerical ageing etc. SLIDES 6-7 – Change by age – PROFOUND IMPLICATIONS that I will come back to. SLIDE 17: Automobile drivers by age: Enormous implications – and fortunately an equally enormous literature about them: • ...
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2004 Australasian Transport Research Forum
Keynote address
Population futures and implications for society
As the title indicates, I’ve NOT been asked to talk about
transport, which is just as well since I have no expertise on the
subject, while you have lots. However I’ve been doing a lot of
reading in the area of population ageing and its implications for
the transport industry, and I’ve become quite fascinated with the
topic – if you’ll forgive a novice’s understanding of the industry
itself I’m going to weave these into my talk here and there.
I’m going to begin with an overview of what is causing
population ageing, and what this means for population growth
and so on. I find this a particularly important place to start,
because it provides an indication of the degree of confidence
with which you can anticipate the various dimensions of
population ageing. Once you understand these dimensions and
what we might think of as their ‘confidence levels’, you are
much better placed to respond. As I have argued in a soon-to-be-
published paper on local government funding, I feel particularly
strongly that governments need to gear their funding ahead of
the unfolding ‘ageing game’, rather than behind it.
SLIDE 2 – Numerical ageing etc.
SLIDES 6-7 – Change by age – PROFOUND IMPLICATIONS
that I will come back to.
SLIDE 17:
Automobile drivers by age:
Enormous implications – and fortunately an equally enormous
literature about them:
1998 rates of usage – the current generation of elderly is
the first that has experienced mass car ownership and
licence holding, and so these rates will almost certainly
increase, especially among women (and if more women
drive, their husbands and partners are likely to be better
catered for than in the past, which could in turn have an
impact on public transport demand)
The literature covers older people as drivers, their accident
rates and so on, also the imperative to keep driving as long
as possible to ensure their independence and their
continued participation in society, which older people
value greatly – and this will be even more likely among
the baby boom generation; hearing loss, vision
impairment, ethnic groups and their english language skills
which tend to reduce in old age (post war migrants)
These characteristics run into the driving environment and
what you can do about it (highway and road design,
signage that you can read, improved reflectivity, reducing
glare, raised warning tiles in the road surface when
approaching intersections etc.); vehicle design.
The list is endless. However there are indications that at this
point Transport and Infrastructure Development Departments
and Branches are not engaging with population ageing as much
as they are complying with the Disability Discrimination Act.
SLIDE 20: Structural Changes:
Would you build a new peak hour transport system based on
these changes?
Many bus routes were set up for transporting school
children. In addition to increasing numbers of elderly who
will use different forms of transport at different times of
the day to the young and working age populations, there
will be increasing numbers of mature age workers and part
time workers, people needing to make multi-purpose trips..
From the literature, changes to the public transport
environment will extend to things like better platform and
en-route announcements; flash cards for attracting buses.
Pedestrian issues – older people walk a lot, and the more
they do, the better for them – unfortunately according to a
Victorian study, in urban areas older pedestrians are more
likely to be killed than older drivers, while the reverse is
true in rural areas (older drivers more likely)
And what about that cross between pedestrian and
motorised vehicles - those ride-on scooters, and what
about the power poles that grow out of the middle of
footpaths (footpaths designed for people on foot, not on
motorised vehicles)
Pedestrian Crossings – timing of the period for crossing,
overseas use of countdown signals, less ambiguity with
buzzers.
Older people and family support – current elderly are the
parents of the baby boom – on average have more children
to call on for their transport needs than will forthcoming
waves of elderly, who had fewer children.
Changing family structures – more people living alone –
will have an impact on the type of transport required.
SLIDE 27:
The same fanning out is evident at all school ages – this has
implications for the number and type of school bus services;
also for funding.
If declining numbers of children and young adults equate with
declining funding, it is time for the policies to change. These
policies were typically developed at a time when natural
increase was never expected to decline and in fact become
negative.
But there will be enormous resource competition issues
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