There is a substantial lack of transit options for seniors in metropolitan areas. In a metro area between 1-3 million residents,, a typical senior with poor transit service has access to fewer than 1.7 bus, rail, or ferry routes. Transportation for America, a coalition on transportation reform, issued this report to assess the adequacy of transportation options for the projected growth of an older America to help cities evaluate their own transportation needs. The results indicate a lack of preparedness for cities of all sizes, ranging from under 250,000 residents to over three million residents.
The report offers hard statistical information on the projected growth of cities as compared to the projected age shift in those cities. As people live longer and seek to age in place, the need for local governments and city planners to provide adequate transportation infrastructure becomes crucial.
Other report highlights include:
- A metropolitan area list, including city names and percentages of seniors with poor transit service access, is provided. This list is categorized by the size of the metropolitan area – indicating that the lack of adequate transit options impacts small and large metropolitan areas alike.
- In 2004, a total of $39.5 billion was allocated to transit service by the federal government, constituting 20 percent of dollars available for public transit.
- Case studies about Tulsa, Oklahoma and Chicago, Illinois demonstrate the inadequacy of transit services for low-income individuals. According to research conducted by AARP, roughly 20 percent of all seniors are estimated to be low-income individuals (page 8).
How to Use
The report highlights the importance of increasing transit options for older adults in order to foster mobility and the opportunity to age in place. City planners and local governments can use this report to determine which new opportunities and initiatives should be implemented in their own locality. By meeting the mobility needs of older Americans, the livability and age-friendliness of cities is increased and the fear of isolation among seniors is reduced.