Older drivers: more or less satisfied?

09 June 2016

Last month we had a team at the Silverstone racing circuit. No, we haven’t started our own racing team – we were exhibiting, sharing our research and taking the opportunity to hear first-hand from transport users about their experiences. It’s a very big event with a range of exhibitors providing information and hands-on product testing, including test drives on the circuit in adapted vehicles.

The needs of older and disabled drivers should not be overlooked. According to Motability, the scheme that provides a way to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair, it currently has over 640,000 customers – a significant market! This reinforces that the needs of all users’ should be considered whatever form of transport people choose. We used a short survey on a tablet to ask older and disabled drivers about their experience of using motorways and major ‘A’ roads. This wasn’t formal research, but the feedback will help inform our work and ensure we are representing the interests of all road users. It was interesting to note how many older and disabled people wanted to talk about their experiences of public transport. Many reported few issues when driving their own vehicles, but had varied experiences using public transport. For example, there were a range of views about bus drivers’ behaviour and attitude towards disabled passengers. Some had encountered excellent customer service and evidence of training, while others relayed very poor experiences and disrupted journeys.

Guy Dangerfield, road user director also presented at Age UK’s roadshow seminar. He used findings from the National Road User Satisfaction Survey to discuss the subject ‘Older drivers: more or less satisfied?’ The survey shows that while older drivers are more satisfied than other users with some aspects of the road user experience, the results are quite consistent across all age groups. This contrasts with our passenger surveys where we find older passengers making rail, bus or tram journeys are often significantly more satisfied than the rest. There was discussion about what makes a good journey and some good questions about the new Strategic Roads User Survey we are developing. You can find Guy’s presentation slides here.

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