Transportation options are essential for older adults to maintain a high quality of life as they age and become less mobile. There are 10 million older adults living in rural America who need to maintain access to doctors, grocery stores, and social contact. Transportation alternatives to driving are less likelyto be available in rural areas, where there are oftengeography and funding challenges. This AARP toolkit addresses the transportation planning and coordination needs and challenges intrying to makeruralcommunities more accessible and livable for older adults.
This AARP toolkit highlights the importance of transportation planning, the benefits of planning for older adults and rural communities, as well as the levels of transportation planning (locally developed, coordinated public transit, human services transportation planning, and long-range planning). “Transportation planning” itself is intended to identify needs in a rural community so that public transit services and other transportation options can be developed.Good planning can improve the livability of a community for all residents, and especially older adults, by increasing mobility and safety.
Other key points include:
- Planning should address transportation coordination, which is when different organizations work together to provide transportation in the community. This will help to understand better the transportation services already available to older adultsand how the different organizationscan work together to better serve this population.
- Good planning can address gaps in existing services and make sure that the needs of the older adult population are adequately addressed.
- For rural communities, good planning can support economic development for a community.
- Encouraging participation by older adults in the planning process can both inform the processand help them feel engaged.
How to Use
This document is an excellent guide for local officials and planners in rural communities interested in improving the quality of life of older adultsin their community through proper transportation planning. Also, it provides guidance and examples of the importance of coordination across a range of transportation services. When organizations in rural communities work together, the entire community benefits.