Adapting to the Transportation Needs of an Aging Population
Transport Canada has asked the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) to undertake an expert panel assessment on the role of innovation and technology in adapting Canada's national transportation system to suit the needs of an aging population. In Canada, the national transportation system includes air, rail, marine, and inter-city bus modes of transportation. Municipal transit, which is the responsibility of each province and territory, does not fall into the scope of this assessment.
How can technology and innovation help the Canadian transportation system (under the legislative authority of Parliament) adapt to the needs of an aging population?
The Expert Panel on Aging and Transportation held their second panel meeting from December 13 to 14 in Ottawa. The Panel discussed the evidence and report structure. The third meeting will be held in March 2017.
Canada’s aging baby boomer generation is changing the demographic profile of this country, matching a worldwide trend. According to Statistics Canada, by 2036 it’s anticipated that there will be 9.8 million Canadians age 65 years and older. These shifting demographics will have an impact on the national transportation system, presenting a range of challenges and opportunities for decision-makers.
Many seniors value their mobility and are active volunteers and avid travellers. Access to transportation is essential to connecting them with services, supports, and activities. As more and more Canadians enter the senior demographic, reliance on the national transportation system is expected to grow. This shift provides a strong motivation to explore innovative strategies that can help encourage and facilitate the use of the transportation system, while also making it more accessible for all Canadians.
The results of this assessment will not only be relevant to Transport Canada, but will also provide other interested parties with a valuable evidence-base to on which to make decisions on transportation policy and management.
The Chair of the Expert Panel on the Transportation Needs of an Aging Population is Dr. Neena L. Chappell, C.M., FRSC, FCAHS, Professor Emeritus at the Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health and at the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria. For a complete list of panel members visit the Expert Panel page.
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