The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 050 [Completed]

What is the Impact of an Aging Population on System Planning and Investment Policies?
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: 75000
Research Agency: ICF Consulting, Inc
Effective Date: 12/16/2004
Completion Date: 10/31/2006
Comments: Completed---Final report has been received

The aging of our population is one of the defining characteristics of the United States that will have dramatic effects in the coming years. While this is a phenomenon of which transportation professionals have been for some time, more insight is needed regarding its implications. For example, what does it mean with respect to driving? What types of transportation services will best serve an aging population in rural and urban areas? What are the locations of elderly-oriented activities that an effective transportation system should serve? There is a need for an analysis of the implications of an aging population on transportation systems planning.

The objective of this study is to provide an overview of aging-population issues and to identify implications to transportation systems planning. Specific activities include:
  • Identify the latest aging trends from the 2000 Census (e.g., the aging in place phenomenon).
  • For each of these trends and important characteristics, postulate the implications for transportation planning and investment priorities (which could include changes to operational standards).
  • Develop guidance for state DOTs on policies that they should consider to take into account this important changing characteristic of the population.

The contractor's final report was sent to AASHTO and is posted at

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