Accessibility

Report: Most baby boomers to face poor mobility options

Posted on June 15, 2011

By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent, a new study shows. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation "ages in place" in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

The report, "Aging in Place, Stuck without Options," ranks metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation, now and in the coming years and presents other data on aging and transportation.

The analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology evaluates metro areas within each of five size categories. It shows that in just four years, 90 percent of seniors in metro Atlanta will live in neighborhoods with poor access to options other than driving, the worst ranking among metro areas with populations over three million. In that size category, metro Atlanta is followed by the Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. metro area, along with Houston, Detroit and Dallas.

Kansas City tops the list for metros of one to three million, followed by Oklahoma City; Fort Worth, Texas; Nashville; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

In smaller areas like Hamilton, Ohio, 100 percent of seniors will have poor access to public transportation. These conditions present a daunting challenge to local communities as a larger share of their population demands increased mobility options.

"The baby boom generation grew up and reared their own children in communities that, for the first time in human history, were built on the assumption that everyone would be able to drive an automobile," said John Robert Smith, president/CEO of Reconnecting America and co-chair of Transportation for America. "What happens when people in this largest generation ever, with the longest predicted lifespan ever, outlive their ability to drive for everything? That's one of the questions we set out to answer in this report."

Without access to affordable travel options, seniors age 65 and older who no longer drive make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor, 59 percent fewer trips to shop or eat out, and 65 percent fewer trips to visit friends and family, than drivers of the same age, research shows. As the cost of owning and fuelling a vehicle rises, many older Americans who can still drive nonetheless will be looking for lower-cost options.

The transportation issues of an aging America are national in scope, and cash-strapped state and local governments will be looking for federal support in meeting their needs, Smith said. As Congress prepares this summer to adopt a new, long-term transportation authorization, "Aging in Place, Stuck without Options" outlines policies to help ensure that older Americans can remain mobile, active and independent:

  • Increase funding support for communities looking to improve service such as buses, trains, vanpools, paratransit and ridesharing.
  • Provide funding and incentives for transit operators, nonprofit organizations, and local communities to engage in innovative practices.
  • Encourage state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit operators to involve seniors and the community stakeholders in developing plans for meeting the mobility needs of older adults.
  • Ensure that state departments of transportation retain their authority to "flex" a portion of highway funds for transit projects and programs.
  • Include a "complete streets" policy to ensure that streets and intersections around transit stops are safe and inviting for seniors.

To view the full report and to see the extended rankings, click here.

 

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

WMATA taps taxi companies for subsidized Md. paratransit services

The decision was a win for disability rights activists who pressed WMATA officials to avoid companies such as Uber, because they lack vehicles with wheelchair-ramps and have been sued for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Capital Metro steps up to rescue those impacted by Hurricane Harvey

The agency was able to send five vehicles for the transport of 10 wheelchair passengers from a medical facility in Corpus Christi, Texas to a shelter in San Antonio. They are also offering free passes and travel training to those people that are in shelters in Austin.

Transdev contracted for Denver paratransit system

Transdev operations are scheduled to begin Oct. 1 for the Access-a-Ride program, serving Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties in the Denver Metro region.

Car commuters dwarf public transit riders in job access

According to a study, low-income workers who commuted by car had 30 times the access to jobs than those who took public transit. The advent of ridesharing and bikesharing could close the gap.

Mich.'s Blue Water Area Transit adds Q'Straint Quantum securement system

Wheelchair-using passengers simply push a button to engage the system’s automatic locking sequence. Quantum’s arms move into position and secure the passenger’s mobility device by gripping its wheels. The system continues to adjust its grip as needed during the bus ride.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close