Last week the Onwards team headed up to Aberdeen, where we were kindly hosted at the Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre. We arrived bearing a number of prototypes, prompts and worksheets, which we hoped would allow for new conversations about how a service might be designed to help people through the difficulties of retiring from driving.

From previously talking to people affected by dementia, we had gained a deeper understanding of the need to plan for changing mobility. The more prepared people can be for giving up driving, the more they can be empowered through the transition. Hopefully, this decreases stress and anxiety too.

As such, we decided that the future Onwards service should find ways to help people to: understand the likely interactions with the DVLA and GPs; plan and prepare for travelling without a car and see the benefits that a car-free life can bring.


Here’s one example of what we took to the group. It’s a game about choosing the best way to travel. Meet John. First, as a group, we gave John some characteristics – age, home location etc. Then, we rolled the ‘Destination Dice’ to determine a trip he is making. Let’s say we rolled ‘Visit Family’. As a group, we then quickly decided what type of journey this might be. Do they live nearby? Or are they some distance away? Once decided, we moved the discussion on to how John could make that trip if he can’t go by car. Finally, we have a ‘Wildcard Dice’ which adds an extra dimension. For instance, would the mode change if it was raining? Or if he was travelling with a number of other people?


So, how did the group respond to this game?

Firstly, we were pleased to see everyone joining in with the game – contributing their thoughts to how John might travel. As hoped, it seemed easier for them to discuss ‘best ways to travel’ when we were talking about another (imaginary) person. Lots of knowledge was quickly shared among participants about routes, good deals (e.g. Railcards), and alternatives to travel (e.g. online shopping). Challenges were also raised easily – including how to ensure families can sit together on the train.

The game provided an excellent primer to then get the group thinking and talking about the information they might need to make a trip by an unfamiliar mode – a key aim of the exercise.

Next steps

This particular idea of a game worked well as part of the wider conversation about travel and mobility we had with this lovely group in Aberdeen. We also gathered excellent input from participants on two prototype tools for 1) understanding the process of retiring from driving, and 2) calculating costs of travel. Next, we’ll be updating our prototypes based on the feedback and considering how these elements can come together to create a service.

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