Vulnerable Populations – Making Sure No One is Left Behind
Delta Marriott: International AB

Moderator: Carla Stout, General Manager, Niagara Transit Commission

  • Merrina Zhang, P. Eng., Senior Research Engineer, National Research Council of Canada
  • Tyson Cragg, Executive Director, Transit Windsor
  • Kris Hornburg, Deputy General Manager, Business Services, Durham Region Transit

Some transit customers may require extra consideration when planning and delivering transit. Here are three perspectives:

1. National Research Council Presentation: Getting Around to Age in Place: Meeting Older Canadians’ Mobility Needs via Public Transportation – One in six people around the world will be 60 years or older by 2030. In Canada, older adults rely primarily on private automobiles as their means of transportation. However, not all older adults have access to a car, and as they age, many have to regulate their driving or even stop altogether. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined “accessible and affordable public transportation as a key factor influencing active ageing”. Older adults present different travel behaviours when compared to other segments of the population as they tend to make fewer and shorter trips. Research on older adults’ public transport use is limited, especially in the Canadian context, and especially in regard to how well public transport serves their actual needs. This project aims to better understand how well public transit services across Canada support the needs of older adults. Six Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMA) have been selected for detailed study (out of an initial list of 10), including Victoria, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. A methodology was developed to identify priority regions within the CMAs for detailed surveys and a survey was launched in the winter and fall of 2023. The presentation will share the findings from the research to date.

2. Going Cashless – If you are eliminating single-fare tickets and payment options, who is falling through the cracks? What are the best ways to make sure that access to technology is not a barrier to mobility? Tyson Cragg will share how the City of Windsor is approaching this challenge.

3. New Social Services pilot to support vulnerable individuals interacting with DRT: Last fall, DRT, in collaboration with the Region of Durham’s Social Services Department, began an innovative pilot to fund the equivalent of two outreach workers from the Social Services Outreach program to help assist individuals interacting with, or accessing, transit. The purpose of this presentation is to explain the rationale behind the new pilot, the metrics that Durham Region Transit will use to determine success, and some key statistics from front-line operations. In addition, the presentation will outline some of the future infrastructure planning that will ensure Durham Region Transit has the facilities and resources to support the broad and diverse needs of the community.