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Crossing Great Divides: A Guide to Elder Mobility Resources and Solutions in Indian Country


There are 565 federally recognized tribes in the United States, and as of 2008, the Census Bureau estimated that there are around 3.1 million people of exclusively American Indian or Alaska Native heritage living in the U.S. The National Center on Senior Transportation and the Rural Transit Assistance Program organized this report to guide Title VI Aging Services Programs, Tribal Transit Programs, and Tribal governments in helping older natives remain mobile in their communities as they age through incorporating new and creative revenue sources, considering new partnerships, and improving transportation systems and infrastructure.

Key Points

This document is intended to highlight the importance of transportation for aging American Indians and resources and solutions for improving transportation services for aging adults living on reservations or other Indian lands throughout the United States. Currently, tribal programs are facing a number of challenges, including the prevalence of aging fleets, energy inefficient vehicles, and inadequate insurance.

Other report highlights include:

  1. Historically, there has been little organization in place to meet public transportation needs on most reservations. For this reason, tribal transit services range dramatically in size and scope.
  2. Funding for public tribal transit services has increased in recent years, but the most common avenues are the Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) program and the Tribal Transit Grant Program.
  3. Alternatives to grant funding include internal fundraising, donations, cost-saving strategies, and partnerships with the private sector.

How to Use

This document can be a useful resource for transportation departments, local officials and planners, health programs, and others that work to address the mobility needs of aging American Indians. It provides essential information on sources of support and assistance to help improve the transportation needs of this population, as well as examples of best practices.

View full report: Crossing Great Divides: A Guide to Elder Mobility Resources and Solutions in Indian Country (PDF – 3.7 MB)

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