Promoting Independent Cycling for Enhancing Later Life Experience and Social Synergy through Design (PrICELESS Design) aims to better understand how built environment and technological design is shaping the willingness and ability of older people to cycle, how they interact and experience the built environment when cycling, and how this affects their independence and well-being.
The output will be a toolkit demonstrating to decision makers how the built environment and technology could be designed to support and promote cycling amongst current and future older generations in order to promote health, well-being and the liveability of our cities.
The £1.2M project will use an innovative mixed-methods including life-course interviews; policy analysis and analysis of secondary data; mobile interviews incorporating video and mapping physiological response to the built environment; and an experimental trial of new electric bicycle users. A documentary of the research will also be produced by a local film company.
PrICELESS Design is part of an £8m research council programme that aims to improve the design of our towns, cities and care homes to help meet the needs of the aging population. The funding is injected by three of the country’s leading research councils, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in joint collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, announced the funding by emphasising that “we need to do everything we can to meet the needs of our aging population”.
Dr. Jones said, “Whilst cycling accounts for 23 per cent of all journeys for people aged 65 and older in the Netherlands, 15 per cent in Denmark and 9 per cent in Germany; it represents only 1 per cent of all journeys in the UK. We aim to deliver a research project that will help transform the built environment and bicycle technology to enable similar proportions of the older UK population to cycle as per our northern European neighbours. This is absolutely necessary to promote quality of life and wellbeing amongst current and future older citizens of the UK”.
Dr. Jones is part of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD), which is the largest academic research institute in the UK dedicated to research on sustainable development in the built environment. The OISD is also part of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University.