Published: 25th MARCH 2021

New report shows how to create a successful age-friendly neighbourhood

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, our Age-friendly Tyburn project has helped to transform this part of Birmingham. And older people can now safely walk, wheel, cycle and access public transport more easily. Today we've launched a report filled with evidence and recommendations to help local authorities replicate this project across the UK.

People looking at and point to a big map on a table

Our new report provides ten easy ways local authorities across the UK can make a neighbourhood more age-friendly.

Urban environments have a huge impact on people’s health and wellbeing.

The character and condition of our streets and public spaces can influence how physically active we are.

They change how we feel about our local community and how much we participate and feel valued and included.

Covid has changed how we move around

In addition, Covid-19 has created an unprecedented crisis across the world, having a disproportionate impact on older people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Lockdowns have understandably changed the way we move in and use our physical environments.

From this crisis, we are learning that reduced traffic movement makes our neighbourhoods and environments more pleasant and creates more space to walk and cycle.

We can adjust our physical world to create a ‘new normal’ that is more age-friendly.

Creating space for people to walk, cycle, move and connect with their community more easily.

And this will hugely help to prevent and reduce social isolation.

How to create a better environment for older people

There are several elements and tools that can be used to create better environments for older people.

In our new report, we have brought together ten recommendations grouped into three main themes:

  • road safety
  • placemaking
  • and connectivity.

If delivered in our neighbourhoods, these ten recommendations will enable older people to be more active and involved within their local communities.

Age-friendly neighbourhood recommendations

Road safety

  1. Installation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
  2. Reduce wait times at crossings and increase green person crossing time.
  3. Ban pavement parking combined with regular enforcement.
  4. Reduce speed limits to 20mph in residential areas, 30mph for arterial roads and increase the number of pedestrian and cycle crossing points.


  1. Develop indoor and outdoor spaces and support and maintain community venues.
  2. Install public seating to support people to make more independent journeys by foot, cycle, wheelchair and mobility scooter.
  3. Develop a community toilet scheme.


  1. Put in wayfinding signage to enable people to connect to their local spaces to travel further distances.
  2. Improve local and regional public transport links.
  3. Install truly protected, safe cycle infrastructure.

Watch our video summarising the findings from our Age-Friendly Tyburn project.

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By creating more age-friendly neighbourhoods across the UK, we'll help people to live longer, healthier and happier lives and the NHS will benefit hugely. Blockquote quotation marks
Tim Egan, Sustrans Head of Delivery in the Midlands and East

Helping people to live longer, healthier and happier lives

Our Head of Delivery in the Midlands and East, Tim Egan, encourages people to read, share and act upon the report.

He said:

"We hope this report provides a catalyst to local and national governments across the UK to improve local neighbourhoods with older people as a primary focus.

"Covid-19 has increased isolation amongst many older people.

"This project adds more evidence showing that if we change the built environment in our towns and cities we will enable older people to walk, wheel, cycle and access public transport more easily.

"And by doing this, we'll also help everyone in the community to be active and reconnect with one another, friends and family in the months and years ahead.

"This will enable people to live longer, healthier and happier lives and the NHS will benefit hugely from this approach."

woman behind table with map on it next to Sustrans banner

Creating more age-friendly spaces can help to reduce and prevent social isolation, especially for older people.

About our Age-friendly Tyburn project

Age-Friendly Tyburn was a project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund managed by Birmingham Voluntary Services Council (BVSC).

The two-year project looked at how to make the physical environment around us more accessible in order to reduce social isolation amongst older people.

Creating an age-friendly city is imperative to keeping people independent and active.

And it's crucial to help people stay connected with their community, friends and family.

Creating an action plan with the community

Working in Castle Vale, Pype Hayes, and Birches Green in Birmingham, we carried out an audit of the local street scene and then deliver a variety of street trials and initiatives.

This helped to identify issues that make travel and connectivity more difficult and then trial solutions.

This work has led to the creation of an action plan for an Age-Friendly Tyburn and ten recommendations for the successful creation of an age-friendly neighbourhood in Tyburn or any UK town or city.


Download the report and read more about creating age-friendly neighbourhoods.


Find out more about the success of our Age-friendly Tyburn project in Birmingham. 

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