The overarching mission of the National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) is to increase transportation options for older adults, thus enhancing their ability to live more independently within their communities throughout the United States. In 2020, culturally and ethnically diverse elders including African Americans, persons of Hispanic origin, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Native Alaskans will represent nearly 24 percent of the total older adult population in the U.S. For this reason, in order to address the mobility needs of older adults, it is essential to focus particular attention on the needs of culturally and ethnically diverse elders.
The NCST produced this report to: 1) identify problems, challenges, and opportunities for meeting the mobility needs of an increasingly diverse older population; 2) provide recommendations for action at the local, state, and national levels; and 3) assist areas with implementing strategies to meet the specific mobility needs of culturally diverse elders. This report provides guidance and recommendations made to three specific audiences: the National Center on Senior Transportation, aging and transportation service networks, and community-based organizations that serve diverse elders.
Older adults in America face many mobility issues. However, ethnically and culturally diverse elders face many obstacles distinctly their own. For example, approximately 40 percent of ethnically diverse older adults do not drive, whereas only 16 percent of Caucasian older adults do not drive. The reasons for these differences are likely to include a combination of issues including residential location, as well as cultural and ethnic attitudes and preferences. This group of older adults face a number of mobility challenges including a lack of knowledge about public transit and other transportation services available in the community.
Recommendations for the NCST, aging and transportation service networks, and community-based organizations include:
- Get input from the bottom up by convening focus groups of culturally diverse older adults. Ask them directly about their transportation and mobility needs. From there, assess how the local community can fill in the transportation gaps.
- Provide information on transportation grant opportunities to organizations that specifically serve ethnically and culturally diverse groups of older adults.
- Promote and facilitate partnerships and coordination among local transportation agencies and organizations that work directly with ethnically diverse older adults.
How to Use
This report is an excellent resource for transportation agencies, community planners, and local officials looking for guidance on how to meet the unique mobility needs of culturally diverse older adults in their community. The recommendations provided in this report can be used to establish transportation policies that will better meet these needs at the state and local level. By understanding the specific mobility challenges faced by these populations, community planners and local leaders can focus on these obstacles when addressing transportation concerns in their communities.