Travel Assist Pilot: Summary Report

Travel Assist Pilot Summary
The Maintaining Mobility1 Policy Framework Report, produced by
the Department of Transport in 2007, recognised the importance
of better understanding the mobility needs of older Victorians.
The document identified a need to develop transport and advisory
services that were more responsive to older users’ needs.
Whilst there are some general sources of information about
transport alternatives to driving, it is often neither specific nor
personalised. The Travel Assist Pilot Project (the ‘Pilot Project’)
was proposed to explore a more responsive model to deliver
transport and advisory services to older people.
The Pilot Project was a collaborative initiative, co-funded by the
Department of Transport, Office of Senior Victorians (Department
of Planning and Community Development), VicRoads, Transport
Accident Commission and Royal Automobile Club of Victoria
(RACV). The Municipal Association of Victoria provided in-kind
support to the Pilot Project.
Aim of Travel Assist Pilot Project
The aim of the Pilot Project was to increase awareness amongst
older people of the mobility options available to them besides
driving, and facilitate the use of these. This would occur through
the provision of personalised mobility advice and support to
individuals who had ceased, or were about to cease, driving;
based on their specific location, abilities and needs. As a
consequence, the Pilot Project aimed to increase the well-being
and quality of life of participants and mitigate the negative
effect that driving cessation can have on drivers, their friends
and families. The objectives of the Pilot Project were to test and
further develop a Travel Assist model.
Available at
Target group for the Pilot Project
The Pilot Project was targeted at older people who:
• H
ave voluntarily entered the early transition stage of driver to non-driver (e.g. have either recently
ceased driving, or are limiting their driving)
• Wanted to reduce their driving yet see no alternative
• H
ave involuntarily entered the early transition stage of driver to non-driver (e.g. unable to drive due
to disability such as reduced vision and or have had their licence withdrawn after a licence review or
family intervention)
• Ceased driving no more than 12 months prior to the Pilot commencement
During the course of the Pilot implementation the target group was expanded to include some people
who had never driven, but were interested in assistance. This included people whose partner had driven
and was now deceased or unable to drive – they made up 19 per cent of the overall participants.
Early stages of the Travel Assist Pilot Project
Formative research was conducted in 2008 to ascertain views on retiring from driving and features
to assist in the design of the advisor service. This comprised a literature review, focus groups and a
telephone survey. The research targeted people aged over 65 years who had either limited their driving or
were no longer driving.
This research informed the next stage, intervention design, including the recruitment processes and
communication strategies to be used, what information and support could assist people transitioning
from driver to non-driver and how this could be provided. In the intervention design stage, the selection
of Pilot locations occurred, and materials and professional development training were developed for local
government staff.
Two metropolitan Local Government Areas were selected for the Pilot Project:
• Mornington Peninsula Shire
• City of Monash
Each Local Government Area was quite different in terms of the physical environment and availability
of alternative transport and mobility options to the car, and this was an important consideration in the
selection process.
Pilot Project Implementation
Each Council delivered the Pilot Project to just over 100
participants; the majority in each municipality were recruited
via invitations distributed via mail-outs or through agencies
that worked with older people. See Appendix 1 for a profile of
the participants.
The Pilot Project commenced from the end of October 2008 in
Mornington Peninsula Shire, and from January 2009 in Monash
City Council. The main Pilot delivery for both sites was completed
in July 2009, with follow-up phone calls with participants
continuing until September 2009.
The process that was followed in the Pilot Project, for the
development and implementation of the Travel Assist Plan,
involved five steps:
1. Securing participant involvement
Interest was sought from participants through letter or
direct contact by council staff
articipants registered their interest by completing
Registration Form that was returned to council
ollowing receipt of the registration form a Travel Assist
Advisor made contact via phone/directly to ensure that
participant met the criteria for the Pilot Project and also to
arrange a meeting time for assessment
2. Conducting the Travel Assist Assessment
uring a home visit the Travel Assist Advisor explained
the Pilot Project to the participant, including discussing
alternative travel options to owning and driving own car
he Travel Assist Advisor carried out the assessment of
needs and completed the Assessment Form
discussion was held about what may be included in
the Travel Assist Plan based on the information from the
Assessment Form
3. Development of the Travel Assist Plan
ravel Assist Advisor developed the Travel Assist Plan
and assembled any relevant information the participant
might require
he Travel Assist Plan and other information was sent by
mail for the participant to review
4. Plan finalisation
If the participant was satisfied with the plan they signed and returned a copy of the Travel Assist
Plan or, if not satisfied, the Travel Assist Advisor worked with the participant to modify the plan
5. Monitoring and support
ravel Assist Advisor was available to provide further information or support if requested,
including making additional home visits if required
rogress on the plan with the participant after 6-8 weeks was reviewed via telephone call and/or
home visit from the Travel Assist Advisor
Results of Evaluation interviews with Pilot Participants
A total of 113 Pilot participants were interviewed on the telephone for the outcomes evaluation. The
telephone interviews occurred between 6 and 16 weeks from when the participants received their travel
plan. 65 participants were from Mornington Peninsula Shire (approximately two thirds of total participants
in that shire) and 48 were from City of Monash (approximately half of total participants in that Pilot site).
The following findings represent outcomes for participants of both councils as there was not a great deal
of difference in the experiences of the participants of the two council Pilots. Differences were however
noted in the range of available transport options for the participants of the two Local Government Areas.
• 2
4.2 per cent (24 people) stated they had either reduced their driving or stopped driving altogether
since developing their travel plan however for the majority of these participants this was not as a result
of changes to their physical mobility. It is also difficult to conclude that this reduction in driving was a
direct result of having a travel plan, although this may have contributed to this behaviour change.
• 2
0 per cent of participants indicated changes to their travel behaviour as a result of financial
constraints resulting from the global financial crisis affecting their investments and superannuation.
• 6
3.4 per cent of participants indicated their level of awareness changed since developing their travel
plan, and, of these 21.3 per cent (13 people) indicated that their driving behaviour also changed with
driving being one of their travel options and not the only option.
• 2
1.4 per cent indicated that their level of confidence in walking or using public transport had increased
since developing their travel plan.
• A combined majority of participants found the Travel Plan to be ‘very useful’ or ‘useful’.
• T
he majority of participants stated that having a Travel Assist Advisor was very useful (35.5 per cent) or
useful (34.5 per cent).
• O
f the 22.7 per cent (25 people) who indicated their life had changed as a result of participation in the
project, the majority of people stated they now felt more independent (59 per cent, 17 people) and
55 per cent (16 people) felt they knew more about how to get around.
Council staff were also involved in an evaluation, and it was found
that the Pilot did influence the practice of staff employed as Travel
Advisors and increased their knowledge of travel options.
Overall, the findings indicate that Pilot participants had a positive
experience from their involvement in the Pilot Project, particularly
through the 1:1 approach that was piloted. The most significant
outcomes for Pilot participants appears to have been their
increased awareness of travel options, particularly public and
community transport available that they did not have information
about prior to their participation in the Pilot Project. It is also
evident that for about 20 per cent of participants the benefits were
substantial and possibly life changing.
The evaluation did not find evidence that the Pilot Project
contributed directly to:
• Participants’ increased skills in using relevant services
• Participants’ increased confidence in using relevant services
• P
articipants’ demonstrated application of improved
knowledge, skills and confidence in using alternative
mobility options
Where to next
The need for people who are ageing, and indeed other members
of the community such as people with a disability, to be able to
use alternative forms of transport to driving, remains an issue as
the population ages.
The evaluation of the Pilot Project in the two Councils indicates
that there is scope to consider a number of varying arrangements
for implementing a Travel Assist type program. It would appear
that Councils are well placed to deliver Travel Assist given the
profile and other relevant community support programs that Travel
Assist could be a part of. However, delivery of Travel Assist by
other organisations cannot be discounted. Other areas for further
exploration could include:
• Potential for including group activities and reducing 1:1 contact
• O
ngoing support and strategies to motivate participants to
make and maintain changes to their behaviour
• B
roadening Travel Assist to include other relevant topics
(e.g. provision of public phones in shopping centres, training
on how to find transport information via the web)
• T
argeting people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
• E
xpanding eligibility criteria, perhaps based on a two tiered
process, e.g. establish whether individuals are appropriate
candidates for only some broad information provision or are
likely to benefit significantly from a personalised travel
advisor model
The Pilot Project was a useful test of the Travel Assist model. The evaluation identified that the most
significant impact of the Pilot Project was in raising participant’s awareness of alternative travel options.
It is likely that this same impact could be achieved in a less resource-intensive program. However the
reported significant impact on some people’s lives (about 20 per cent of the total), where individuals felt
more independent and were accessing more activities and opportunities as a result of their participation,
shows that the Travel Assist concept is an important one, worth pursuing.
Appendix 1
Profile of the Pilot Participants
The majority of participants were female (71.8 per cent female and 28.2 per cent male) and the Pilot
Project in Mornington had a higher proportion of males (30.8 per cent) than Monash (25.7 per cent).
The majority of participants (69.2 per cent) were aged between 71 and 85 and there was a higher
proportion of older males than females. The age spread of participants was different in each municipality,
with older participants involved in the Pilot Project in Mornington than in Monash. This was most likely
due to the recruitment methods used and stronger links with the Home and Community Care (HACC)
program in Mornington, compared with the links to the Positive Ageing Program in Monash.
Only a small proportion of participants (8.5 per cent) spoke another language other than English at home.
Almost half of all participants (49.0 per cent) reported that they had medical conditions or special needs.
Those aged 71 years or older were more likely to report that they had medical conditions or special
needs. Similarly participants who were older were more likely to report their physical mobility as limited.
Also participants who were older were generally more likely to report their vision or hearing as limited.
The majority of males were currently driving (76.7 per cent) compared with just over half of females
(58.2 per cent) at the point of registering for the Pilot Project. Just under half of the participants
(44.7 per cent) who had given up driving had done so in the past 2 years. The majority of participants
(86.2 per cent) who drove reported that they drove less now than they did a few years ago. For those
participants still driving 15.6 per cent did not drive long distances, 29.6 per cent would not drive at night
and 26.7 per cent only drive locally.
Participants reported using a variety of different modes of travel in a typical week when they registered
for the program. The majority reported that they walked (60.1 per cent). More than half (55.9 per cent)
travelled in a car driven by a family member or friend. A little under half (45.5 per cent) reported using
public transport, and more in the City of Monash (56.0 per cent) did this than in the Shire of Mornington
(34.6 per cent). About one third (29.1 per cent) used taxis, and only a relatively small proportion used
community transport options (13.1 per cent), although more did so in the Shire of Mornington
(19.2 per cent) than in the City of Monash (7.3 per cent).
The majority of participants (82.5 per cent) reported during the assessment for the Pilot Project that they
felt confident in walking or using public transport. There were some differences between males and
females, with a slightly higher proportion of females (84.8 per cent) reporting they were confident than
males (76.7 per cent). A range of issues were reported by participants during the assessment interview as
making it hard for them to get about. The issues varied depending on the municipality participants lived
in, and reflected the degree of urbanisation and facilities for pedestrians in each location. The cost of
travel was only an issue for a relatively small proportion of people (15.8 per cent).
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