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Photographer Dylan Bueltel

Key details


  • 12 January 2023


  • RCA

Read time

  • 2 minutes

Design Age Institute launches call-out for new transport-themed Pathfinder Projects to support healthy and joyful ageing

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The Design Age Institute has launched a call-out for innovative transport-focused proposals as part of a new Transport Pathfinder Innovation Programme, which aims to support healthy and joyful living for the UK’s rapidly ageing population, using the transformative potential of good design.

Approximately one third of older people report unmet travel needs, which worsen with progressing age (Luiu et al, 2016). There is a need for innovative and scalable approaches that are able to meet the increasing demand for transport options that are safe, affordable, sustainable and desirable.

Based at the Royal College of Art, Design Age Institute was set up in 2020 to provide design support and investment in Pathfinder Projects; accelerating innovative solutions for the healthy ageing economy towards market.

With funding from InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency, this Transport call-out is focused on system, service, product or digital solutions for transport or mass transit, such as projects for moving things and moving people i.e. trains, buses, taxis, planes, boats and cars, as well as systems like roads, tracks and airports, and the ways we navigate them, using a bus schedule or an app, for example.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate how they address one or more of the following factors impacting access to transport in later life. These factors are based on research from the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre at the Royal College of Art.

  • Physical exclusion: poor design of vehicles and infrastructure.
  • Digital and information exclusion: difficulty understanding and actioning information.
  • Cost and payment exclusion: payment methods and people's personal circumstances.
  • Service exclusion: issues with availability, administration and staffing of service.
  • Psychological exclusion: fear and anxiety about travelling
  • Other factors will be considered with demonstrable evidence of need.

Applications are now open until midday on Monday 27 February 2023 and the Design Age Institute invites submissions of inspirational, transformative, life-enhancing ideas and prototypes that can be developed, funded or supported as part of the Transport Innovation Pathfinder Programme. The Institute is looking for ideas with the potential to change the narrative on ageing, requiring not only a strong idea but also demonstrable success of implementation.

Design Age Institute can provide funding of up to £120,000 and additionally will provide design management support, mentoring and access to existing research.

Information about how to apply can be found on Design Age Institute’s website.

A further call-out for projects addressing Personal Mobility will be launched in Spring 2023.

Designing for our Future Selves

Home Office live _ workspace credit Paul Jones, Chris Brown and Adam Cosheril

The Design Museum and Design Age Institute present Designing for our Future Selves, a new display that invites visitors to explore the ways innovation and design are responding to the needs, interests and aspirations of an ageing society, and indeed, their own future selves.

The display will be showcased in the atrium of the Design Museum in Kensington, London, from 24 February to 26 March 2023 and builds on last year’s successful Future of Ageing display, reminding us that the one thing we all have in common is that we are all getting older – no matter our age. Designing for our Future Selves will showcase how, in a changing world, cutting-edge design can help people to not only live their later years independently, sustainably and healthily but also with joy and fulfilment.

The display will showcase 10 clever design initiatives to help everyone age more happily and healthily. Visitors will gain a unique insight into the process of design development and co-creation between designers and users. They will have the opportunity to explore research and design projects through video and audio content, consultation feedback, design concepts, prototypes, materials, sketches and user experience. Immersive and multi-sensory elements, alongside an interactive learning programme, will explore the diverse stories and experiences of older communities.

Learn more about the Design Age Institute

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