Upstream Transport and Dementia

National project
Award: £95,000
Timescale: March 2016 – February 2017

Project aims

The creation of a partnership of people affected by dementia, mobility providers, third sector organisations and dementia specific organisations and projects, to:

  • work with people affected by dementia to influence future transport service design
  • develop new standards for dementia aware mobility customer services that reflect the challenges and addresses of people affected by dementia
  • create and deliver accredited training for leading transport providers in Scotland, which is based on experience of travelling with dementia
  • work with the Trust to influence policy makers in the transport domain


There is no sense in having wonderful dementia friendly communities and related activities if people cannot reach them because they cannot travel there. This is an issue that has been raised for decades by people with dementia but their requests for it to be addressed have not resulted in action.

Getting out and about and being involved in community life is an important part of living well with dementia and mobility service providers play a key role in this. However, the challenges faced by people affected by dementia mean that they may find travel daunting. Dementia affects so much more than memory and travel can be noisy, busy and disorienting. 

If the growing number of people living with dementia are to maintain their independence then transport and related services need to respond and develop in ways that are informed by real-life experience.

More Information

Upstream is working with people with dementia across Scotland to discover and share their experiences of travel. Their aim is to put the voice of people with dementia at the heart of future mobility service design by developing training for mobility service providers and creating spaces for everyone to participate and contribute to the conversation. 

The work being carried out covers a range of issues, such as accessible transport, rural challenges, community transport, dementia friendly transport, and how people with dementia are assisted in planning their travel. 

Working with Life Changes Trust projects in East Lothian, Aberdeen and the Western Isles, Upstream developed local contacts with transport operators and dementia support organisations. They met with existing dementia support groups and used a workshop format to facilitate friendly conversations around travel, transport and generally getting out and about.Insights were then collected from these gatherings and used to develop different types of training.

There was then a conference, held in December 2016 at which findings were shared.

This project is led by people with deep knowledge of transport systems in Scotland and with solid links to major transport providers.

In the Western Isles Upstream are working closely with the Dementia Friendly Community project at An Lanntair along with Alzheimer Scotland, regularly visiting various groups in Stornoway and more remote locations to learn about the challenges of island transport, with a particular focus on sea and air links.

In East Lothian they have strong links with Dementia Friendly East Lothian and the North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership, incorporating the Older People's Network.Workshops are being held with memory skills groups and day centres to gather insights about travel in an area which, though close to Edinburgh, has many rural areas and related transport challenges.

Supported by the Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO) and Alzheimer Scotland Upstream are also working with people living with dementia in Aberdeen City and exploring links with local transport operators and planners.

Click the image below to download the Upstream Phase 1 Report:

Outcomes we'd like to see

We would like to:

  • develop an empowered community of people affected by dementia who influence and shape the development of truly dementia-friendly services
  • help mobility service providers to become more dementia-aware and provide better, more responsive services
  • create new standards for dementia-aware training

This is the starting point but Upstream are working with people affected by dementia to decide the best outcomes.And ultimately, if mobility services are more dementia-friendly, they're better for all of us.

Additional Information

Fundee Information: