Make senior drivers’ mobility a priority says FIA, as European Year of Active Ageing gets underway
Brussels, 18 January 2012
The provision of safe and efficient mobility is key for intergenerational solidarity, according to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) - a consumer body representing 104 Touring and Motoring Clubs as well as 36 million members from its Brussels office. The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations is being formally inaugurated by the Danish Presidency of the EU in Copenhagen today (18th January 2012).
“We are working to ensure that mobility for all remains a reality in Europe’s ever changing social structure. All transport modes should be combined to provide an efficient door-to-door mobility so that the elderly can continue to lead an active and socially integrated life,” said Jacob Bangsgaard, Director General of FIA Region I.
With changes in demographic trends indicating that Europe’s population is becoming increasingly elderly (the ratio of Europeans over 65 years to the working population has increased steadily from 21% in 1990 to 26% in 2010, and is projected to reach 52% by 2060), the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations aims to support senior citizens so that they can lead active and independent lives for as long as possible.
Several mobility challenges linked to Europe’s ageing society will have to be addressed in order to enhance intergenerational solidarity. The FIA has called on the European Union to:
1. Recognise and act on the fact that the demand for individual mobility will continue to rise as different groups of active seniors emerge (more social, cultural and sport activities; different ways of travelling…).
2. Recognise that car use will be the first travel mode for older people, both as drivers and passengers. Car mobility will enable seniors to continue leading the relatively independent and active lives they are used to. As car journeys remain key to societal interaction, the FIA and its Clubs will promote specific refresher courses and practical driving lessons for the benefit of elderly people, in the framework of the FIA Action For Road Safety campaign.
3. Recognise the importance of adapting public transport to the specific needs of elderly citizens. Public transport must offer an appropriate, user-friendly, safe and efficient door-to-door service.
4. Support the definition and implementation of appropriate policies and actions to help elderly citizens to continue to be mobile, thus contributing to the general social well-being of all. This includes improved infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists such as the construction of separate bicycle lanes and the provision of safe crossing areas. As a result of the European Pedestrian Crossing Assessment initiative, the FIA has produced a handbook collecting best practices and technical solutions from across Europe, aimed at supporting local authorities and city planners in designing safe pedestrian crossings for elderly people.
Note to Editors:
European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations
2012 is the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The challenge for politicians and stakeholders will be to improve opportunities for active ageing in general and for living independently, acting in areas as diverse as employment, health care, social services, adult learning, volunteering, housing, IT services or transport. The European Year seeks to raise awareness of these issues and the best ways of dealing with them.
The Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2012 is holding a high level Conference on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations on 18th and 19th January 2012. The conference will inaugurate the European Year 2012.
The event is organised by the Danish Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration and the Ministry of Health in close cooperation with the European Commission.
The main theme is innovation and how innovation can bring new solutions to the pending challenges of an ageing society in Europe within the fields of employment, social affairs and health.
FIA Region I
FIA Region I represents 104 Touring and Motoring Clubs in the European Union, as well as Africa and the Middle East from its Brussels office, which total more than 36 million members. The FIA represents the interest of these members as motorists, public transport users, pedestrians and tourists.
The FIA’s primary goal is to secure a mobility that is safe, affordable, sustainable and efficient. With these aims in mind the work focuses on Road Safety, Consumer Protection, Environmental Protection, and the promotion of Sustainable Motoring.
For more information please contact Niall Carty, Communications Manager, FIA Region I: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tel: 0032 2 282 0812 or 0032 486 650 216).