The availability of means of transport other than the car is one of the most important ways to maintain older people's mobility. Such options allow older people to travel. Viable transport options need to provide opportunities for spontaneous travel and flexibility in modal choice in order to enable older users to reach the desired destinations. Such options need to ensure that the complete travel chain is suitable for older people, taking account of older people's capabilities and limitations. That is, they should be affordable and accessible.
Alternatives to the car are often provided by community transport and paratransit (Dial-a-Ride) services. These can be useful, although a drawback of these services is that they often require advance booking. They rarely permit spontaneous travel of the kind that is possible by car or on foot. Powered wheelchairs, scooters and golf carts constitute another class of mobility alternative that does not require a driving licence. These vehicles allow for spontaneous travel and are being used for journeys of up to about 4 km which are made under favourable weather conditions. No single form of transport provides mobility for all people under all circumstances. A family of services is needed that enables travellers to select the one that best suits their requirements for a particular journey. These services include:
- Conventional public transport services, which are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs, if possible.
- Bus service routes using small vehicles that pick up and discharge passengers close to origin and destination. This service is particularly appropriate for areas where demand is low (e.g. in rural areas).
- Conventional taxis, often with user-side subsidies in order to reduce the fare
- Dial-a-Ride service for door-to-door travel for passengers who require assistance and/or who use a wheelchair that cannot be accommodated by a taxi or accessible bus
- Accessible pedestrian infrastructure to allow access to all transport services and to make journeys wholly on foot or by (powered) wheelchair or scooter.