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Group canvasses transportation policies for elderly persons

By Benjamin Alade
20 January 2023   |   4:17 am
GreenLight Initiative, a non-profit organisation, has called on governments at all levels to create policies that would aid the transportation needs of the elderly in the country. Executive Director of the group, Simon Obi, made the call in Abuja, at the presentation of research findings carried out on “Mobility, Transport, and Ageing in Low and…

Stakeholders at the presentation of research findings carried out on “Mobility, Transport, and Ageing in Low and Middle-Income Countries’, in Abuja.

GreenLight Initiative, a non-profit organisation, has called on governments at all levels to create policies that would aid the transportation needs of the elderly in the country.

Executive Director of the group, Simon Obi, made the call in Abuja, at the presentation of research findings carried out on “Mobility, Transport, and Ageing in Low and Middle-Income Countries”.

The research was conducted in Nigeria and Uganda and aimed at meeting the mobility needs of the elderly in selected cities. The event was organised by GreenLight Initiative in collaboration with Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo and Makerere University, Uganda. Volvo Research and Educational Foundation (VREF) supported the project.

In his address, Obi urged governments to plan and incorporate decisions that would benefit and protect the lives of older persons.

Obi said the study became imminent as evidence suggests that not much work had been done regarding the mobility needs and safety of older persons.

He said: “Lack of policies and lack of infrastructure are definitely affecting the older persons in Nigeria and we don’t have structures and infrastructure that support their wellbeing in our cities.

“The government has to come in and do something urgently because this is an emergency situation. We are losing our older persons and we all will get old one day.

“This should compel urban developers and transport planners to have special consideration during designs.

“Inclusive mobility is an important initiative to consider in the initial stages of designing and developing mobility services.

“What we saw in these two countries indicated they do not support the rights of the older persons. So, governments need to invest in infrastructure, and provide the enabling environment for these categories of persons to strive to make a meaningful life.”

According to a Researcher/Lecturer from the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Dr. Chinebuli Uzondu: “It was such a pleasant surprise. I am so thrilled and honoured that we were announced as recipients of a grant from the Volvo Research and Educational Foundation (VREF). This grant has enabled us to work on a very important, yet often neglected issue. Our research has explored the mobility needs of older persons in Nigeria and Uganda, to understand their travel patterns, unravelled their travel patterns, transport options available to them, needs and barriers to active mobility. We identified country-specific challenges and have presented evidence-based strategies and recommendations to address and improve the condition. This research is very important to me because VREF acknowledges the importance of this research and how it will address the issues around transport inequities and exclusions.

Senior Lecturer from the Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda, Dr. Paul I. Mukwaya said: “For Makerere University, the grant is one of those which has opened up new opportunities, locally and internationally, as we build for the future. Most importantly, the research has brought to the fore; not only, the kind of transport inequalities that older persons experience to be more specific, but also the transport policy gaps that exist at city and/or national scale.