Agneta Ståhl

Senior Professor

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Transport Systems and Logistics
  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences

Research

The group carries out research in the field of transport planning, with the focus on older people and people with disabilities. The research area covers the outdoor environment/walking environment, public transport, special transportation service and car traffic, and it is intended to increase safety/security and accessibility/usability in traffic and in society for older people and people with disabilities, with increased mobility, activity and participation as the ultimate goal. We have a well-developed national and international contact network and are involved in several EU-financed projects with the focus on accessibility and mobility for older people and people with disabilities. The activities have extensive external finance from all of Sweden’s state research councils, several sector authorities, and a number of smaller research financiers.

A basic premise for the research is society’s goal of an accessible and usable traffic system for everyone, based on the government acts 1999/2000:79 (“From patient to citizen – a national plan of action for disability policy”) and 2000/01:48 (“Accessibility in public buildings and public places”) and the instructions of the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning HIN 3, BSF:2013:9 (Removal of easily eliminated obstacles) and ALM 2, BFS 2011:5.

In the field of accessibility, our basic outlook is that a usable and attractive traffic environment can only be achieved by applying a holistic perspective (“the whole travel chain”) in both research and implementation. We devote our work to methodological improvements and to development and demonstration projects in the form of (1) studies of needs, demands and effects of measures in the physical environment and (2) development and testing of new systems in public transport. New technology and the implications it has for the ability of older people and people with disabilities to move around in traffic or to use the systems is an important question. The research has hitherto focused to a large extent on the older population and on people with impaired mobility. In recent years, however, our research has also included people with orientation difficulties, that is, persons with cognitive functional disabilities and sight impairments, and the ability of these groups to move around in the transport environment, especially by public transport.

In the field of road safety, research is particularly geared to the vulnerability of old people when it comes to accidents and injuries in traffic, especially pedestrian fall accidents. In recent years we have surveyed the occurrence and the consequences of fall injuries in the traffic environment among older persons and found that this type of injury in traffic is by far most common among older people. From the perspective of public health, it is particularly urgent to analyze these injuries, and our research is now geared to finding risk factors for fall accidents in the transport environment among older persons, factors which relate to both the individual and the environment. Older drivers’ subjective and objective risks in traffic are another important related research field.

The research group includes doctoral students and post-docs. In addition there are yet two senior researchers attached to the group. The activities are closely integrated withCASE (Centre of Ageing and Supportive Environments) which is an interdisciplinary centre at Lund University, financed by Forte (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare). CASE consists of research groups from the Faculty of Medicine, Lund Institute of Technology and the Faculty of Social Sciences. The research involves different disciplines (architecture, design, transport planning, neuropsychology, psychology, rehabilitation medicine, geriatrics, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, education, social work, sociology.

Our ultimate hope is that the interdisciplinary research environment that we have established will create good conditions for contributing to increased accessibility/usability and safety in the traffic system, with increased efficiency for transports and increased growth in society. The term growth should be understood in this context in terms of increased mobility for everyone, a reduced need for (expensive) special solutions, such as special transportation services, fewer injuries in the transport environment and less need for public resources in the form of medical care and personal assistance. Moreover, an integrative approach, with better coordination and utilization of vehicles in public transport, leads not only to purely economic gains but also to positive environmental effects, as regards both the outdoor environment in a broad sense and the work environment.

Recent research outputs

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