By 2030, there will be over 72 million Americans age 65 and older and 11.5 million over age 85. Many of these older adults will still hold a valid driver’s license and use the private automobile as their main mode of transportation. The Journal of the American Society on Aging released this report produced by graduate professor, Sandra Rosenbloom, to examine transportation alternatives for older adults and ways to make streets and neighborhoods safer for older adults who still have the ability to drive.
The majority of trips taken by older adults are made by automobile. Behind the private automobile, walking is the second most common form of transportation among older adults. However, walking is not always an easy task in many communities in the U.S. Nationwide studies show that older adults report having trouble walking in their community due to lack of sidewalks, unsafe intersections and crosswalks, and broken or uneven pavement, among other issues.
The report discusses the most common issues facing older adults in their transportation needs, specifically related to driving, walking, and utilizing public transit services. It also provides solutions for communities to consider when looking to improve pedestrian infrastructure, enhance roads and highway systems to make them safer for older drivers, and create neighborhoods that are safer and more accessible for all road users.
How to Use
This report provides insight and consideration for planners and community leaders looking to understand the transportation needs of their older residents. The report recommends adopting policies that provide substantially more funding for transit operators to increase paratransit services for older adults, providing better support and financial resources for community transportation providers, developing programs to keep older adults driving safely for as long as possible, enhancing and maintaining pedestrian infrastructure, and ensuring that traffic regulations are enforced.