The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 031 [Completed]

Elderly Issues in the Transportation Planning Process
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: 40000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Lewis Grimm
Effective Date: 12/3/2002
Completion Date: 1/31/2004
Comments: Completed---Final report sent to AASHTO

People over the age of 55 are becoming the fastest growing segment of America's population. Most people maintain a driver's license as a routine part of their lifestyle, and personal mobility is considered essential to maintaining independence. For those who do not drive, public transportation becomes a lifeline to services and a connection to the community. As planners, we have a tendency to assume that the traveling population as a whole is rather homogeneous, when in fact, it is not. There has been substantial research to indicate that the habits and abilities of drivers vary by age group, and the needs of older transit customers are not the same as younger customers. As our population ages, is becomes more and more important to know that our planning processes are meeting the unique needs of our elders.

The purpose of this research is to inquire of the state DOT's and MPO's, what kinds of planning activities are underway to accommodate the special needs of the well elderly as they travel the transportation system in both urban and rural areas of the states. What is the current state-of-the practice with regards to planning for the elderly users of our transportation system? How is planning for the elderly population taken into consideration when developing the State Long Range Transportation Plans? Are there ongoing efforts to identify any special needs of the traveling elderly and accommodate those needs during the planning process? What data is routinely collected? What information is available and routinely used as the basis for this planning? What examples of good practice are available to guide states who wish to improve their planning practice with regards to planning for the elderly users of the system?

The results of this research will be useful to planning practitioners in MPO's and state departments of transportation as they revise their long range transportation plans, and to engineers as they set road standards.

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