Transportation options are one of the key features Seniors need to be aware of when planning their living situations. Recent reports indicate that over 15 million Seniors are living in areas with little or no public transportation options, and many are living in neighborhoods without even a sidewalk! For more information on evaluating transportation and walking options in various neighborhoods, keep reading…
Transportation for Aging In Place
By Elyse Umlauf-Garneau
Reliable transportation plays a key role in aging in place successfully. Access to buses and trains is especially important for seniors who can no longer drive.
But finding that sort of transit is likely to get more difficult, according to a recent study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), Chicago, Il.
Its report, Aging in Place, Stuck without Options, indicates that by 2012, more than 15.5 million Americans aged 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent.
The CNT study analyzed metro areas in five size categories and ranked them by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation both now and in the future.
Among the findings:
- By 2015, 66 percent of seniors living in suburban Chicago will have poor transit access, while only 6 percent of seniors living in the city of Chicago will face poor transit options.
- Ninety percent of seniors in metro Atlanta, just four years from now, will live in neighborhoods with poor access to options other than driving. Atlanta had the worst ranking among metro areas with populations over 3 million. Other cities in that size category didn’t fare much better. For instance, Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., metro area, along with Houston, Detroit, Dallas, and Kansas City also ranked among the worst for senior transit options.
- Today, 79 percent of seniors aged 65 and older live in suburban or rural communities that are largely car-dependent.
The study is a terrific reminder of how important it is to consider transportation options when you’re shopping for retirement neighborhoods and for houses or condos.
One online tool that can be particularly valuable when you’re assessing various cities and specific addresses is Walk Score. You plug in an address and the site measures the walkability of any address and rates local transit options. As an example, if you type in an address in Lincoln Park, a Chicago neighborhood, Walk Score tells you that the area is a walker’s paradise and gives it a 90 out of 100 in walkabiltiy. It also says that it has excellent public transit access. Encino, Calif., on the other hand, only scores a 38 on walkability, and the site labels the city car dependent.
Read CNT’s complete study.