Sixteen percent of the licensed drivers in the United States are age 65 or older. By 2025, one in every five drivers will be 65 or older. The Boomer generation will significantly affect the transportation system in the U.S. as they continue to age and their mobility needs change. TRIP, a national transportation research group, produced this report to assess the mobility and safety issues facing older Americans and provide recommendations for implementing a transportation system that will enhance older Americans’ mobility options while accommodating their desire to maintain the active lifestyle Boomers have grown accustomed to.
Now more than ever, efforts must be made to improve the transportation systems in the U.S. to meet the changing mobility needs of the rapidly expanding older adult population. The report offers older driver demographics and fatality rates among drivers age 65 and older, emphasizing the need to improve roadway design, increase transportation options and driving alternatives, and provide driver education programs for older adults, among other things. Improving the safety and accessibility of transportation systems to accommodate the mobility needs of older adults benefits all community residents, regardless of age.
Other report highlights include:
- An outline of ways to make streets safer for older drivers and pedestrians such as widening lanes, adding countdown pedestrian signals, and improving street signage.
- Self-assessments, such as AARP’s Ten Signs it’s Time to Limit Your Driving test,are offered online to help older drivers determine the range of their driving abilities.
- Many states are implementing recommendations from the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians to enhance transportation infrastructure that will improve the safety and mobility of older Americans.
How to Use
The information presented in this report can be used by planners, local officials, and community leaders looking for ways to enhance local transportation systems and driving alternatives to allow for healthy and successful aging in place. The outline of safe street features can be used as a checklist to evaluate the age-friendliness of community streets.