According to a report released this week, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent by 2015, with the number expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation continues to age.
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 data showed some alarming statistics, including the fact that 90 percent of seniors in metro Atlanta will live in neighborhoods with poor access to options other than driving, while 100 percent of seniors in smaller areas like Hamilton, Ohio will have poor access to public transportation.
As a result of fewer transportation options, seniors 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, the report found.
This is alarming. Better transportation options are a must for the entire nation, especially as the population continues to grow, as well as for the environment. The fewer options there are, the more and more people will be forced to use their vehicles, causing more gridlock and pollution.
Tomorrow's "Dump the Pump Day," sponsored by APTA, celebrates our need to get out of the car and use alternative forms of transportation for at least one day. If you can't take part in the celebration tomorrow, then send a letter to your congressional representative urging them to support public transportation. We have to make a difference now in anticipation for the changes to come.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: Public employees get the job done even under fire" here.