According to AAA, the average person spends nearly $10,000 annually on their car. Driving is often second nature for many adults in the U.S.; it has become so automatic that many people forget about the cheaper, healthier, and more enjoyable transportation alternatives such as walking, bicycling, or using public transportation. AARP produced the Getting Around Guide to highlight the benefits of active transportation alternatives and provide practical tips and advice on getting started using these alternatives.
The most popular mode of transportation in the U.S., behind driving, is walking. It’s cheap, efficient, and gentle on the body and the environment – making it a healthy alternative to automobile travel. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles that often discourage people from walking such as dangerous intersections, streets without sidewalks, poor maintenance of sidewalks, and inadequate lighting. These issues are a result of planning and designing streets to solely accommodate the demands of automobile traffic. This booklet provides solutions for some of these issues and offers ways in which people can advocate for better walkability in their communities.
Bicycling and using public transit are also attractive options for people looking to reduce their automobile dependency or for those who can no longer drive. In order for these alternatives to be practical, it is important that communities provide the proper bicycle infrastructure and public transportation services.
Other report highlights include:
- Many government agencies and nonprofit groups across the country provide special transportation services for older adults who may not be able to drive an automobile or get to a fixed-route bus stop.
- We Need to Talk – This brochure developed by The Hartford and MIT AgeLab is intended to help caregivers discuss transportation alternatives with their older loved ones who are no longer physically able to safely operate an automobile. Understanding that there are enjoyable and healthy alternatives to driving will make this transition easier for the older adults.
How to Use
Community leaders and local officials can use this booklet to educate community residents on the benefits and importance of active transportation alternatives. Community leaders and government officials advocating for complete streets and a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists should use this booklet as a resource to promote healthy, active transportation in their communities.