According to a recent report, by 2015, more than 15.5 million American seniors, 65 years old and older, will live in areas where public transportation service is poor or non-existent. And in fact, this number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as baby boomers age-in-place in suburbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.
The report, Aging in Place, Stuck without Options ranks cities by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation, now and in the coming years, and presents other data on aging and transportation. The analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology evaluates metro areas within each of five size categories. For instance, it shows that in four years, 90 percent of seniors in the Atlanta area will live in neighborhoods with poor access to options other than driving—the worst ranking among regions with populations over 3 million.
These transportation issues are national in scope, and cash-strapped state and local governments will be looking for federal support in meeting their needs. The report also outlines policies to help ensure thats seniors can remain mobile, active and independent:
- Increase funding support for communities looking to improve service such as buses, trains, vanpools, paratransit and ridesharing;
- Provide funding and incentives for transit operators, nonprofit organizations, and local communities to engage in innovative practices;
- Encourage state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit operators to involve seniors and the community stakeholders in developing plans for meeting the mobility needs of older adults;
- Ensure that state departments of transportation retain their authority to “flex” a portion of highway funds for transit projects and programs;
- Include a “complete streets” policy to ensure that streets and intersections around transit stops are safe and inviting for seniors.
Read more: Aging in Place Stuck Without Options