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AARP Issue Brief: Transportation

  • Increased Transportation Choices: Strengthen public transportation programs through increased funding and improved program design, including rural and paratransit programs, and coordination of human services transportation.  Allow operating costs as an eligible expense for the elderly and disabled transit program.
  • Safe Mobility: Incorporate complete streets and older-driver safety design principles in new and reconstructed road, street, and highway infrastructure improvements.
  • Smarter Development: Encourage stronger connections between transportation and land use, such as transit-oriented development, while linking funding to achievement of carbon emissions reductions.
  • Public Accountability and Transparency: Strengthen public involvement in state and local planning processes; and increase accountability for, and transparency in, transportation programs and funding. Designate a dedicated role for coordination and oversight of senior transportation in the Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary.


The Cost of Doing Nothing

In 2006, traffic crashes killed 42,642 people in the United States – about 117 deaths per day, and nearly five every hour. According to FHWA, in 2005 dollars, the per-person cost of a fatality was $3,246,192, and the cost for an injury, $68,170. IIHS estimates that, by 2030, the annual number of older-driver fatal crashes will more than double. Moreover, absent transportation, prolonged social isolation by older individuals often leads to depression, alcoholism, obesity, and related diseases. Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs bear a substantial portion of the costs of addressing these problems. The cost to the nation—from lives lost needlessly to unnecessary health care spending—will mount precipitously if these transportation challenges are left unaddressed. By reorienting our approach to transportation, and providing a multimodal, accessible, safe, and affordable transportation system, we can save lives, resources, and improve the quality of life for all Americans.

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