Management & Operations

Study: Limited transportation isolates older population

Posted on April 16, 2004

More than half of all non-drivers age 65 and over stay at home on a given day, many because of limited transportation options, according to a new study. The study, “Aging Americans: Stranded Without Options,” released Wednesday by the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) in collaboration with AARP, concludes that the existing transportation network is unable to meet the needs of the nation’s aging population, particularly as they become less willing and able to drive. “We must move aggressively to implement a balanced, multimodal transportation system, supported by mixed-use development,” said STPP President Anne Canby. Among the report findings, more than 50% of non-drivers age 65 and older, or 3.6 million Americans, stay home on any given day because they lack transportation options. Isolation of non-drivers affects the rural aging population disproportionately, said the report. In addition, older people who live in sparsely populated geographical areas have fewer transportation options, such as regular transit services, than those living in denser geographic areas. The report recommends providing more public transportation options, increasing funding and flexibility for existing programs to serve older people and better transportation planning with greater coordination with land-use planning. Improved human service and transportation coordination and improved street design and safety features were also recommended.

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