Reconnecting Small-Town America by Bus

Growing up in America’s heartland, my parents frequently put me and my sister on a Greyhound bus to visit our grandparents in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Along this three-hour trek from Ames, we would stop for passengers in six small towns. These were memorable opportunities to flex a bit of pre-driver independence and stay in touch with extended family. Today, my son could make the trip by bus between Ames and Cedar Rapids, but children from the smallest four towns along …

Aging in Community: City Planners Get on Board to Help Lead the Way

Where do you plan to retire? If you’re like a majority of Americans, you prefer to age in your current home, or at the very least, your community. A just-released survey by the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) shows nearly 9 in 10 people age 65 and older want to stay put as they age. Only 11 percent intend to move within the next three years. Most will age in a suburb, often with few transportation and housing options. These …

The Infrastructure of Inequality

Put people first. That was a theme of the first national Walk Summit in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1-3. Unfortunately the message relayed by several participants was not encouraging. “I feel my life is worth less than nothing,” said one self-described vulnerable road user as she outlined the challenges of navigating our transportation system without a car. The Sunday before the Walk Summit, I was driving along a four-lane road in my neighborhood and was surprised to see a young man …

Congrats to Memphis! And Passage of the Nation’s 500th Complete Streets Policy

Today the nation will celebrate passage of the 500th piece of “complete street” legislation. This is a major milestone toward achieving safe streets for everyone, regardless of age and ability. All eyes will be on Memphis, Tenn., which landed lucky No. 500. Through executive order, Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. has directed that new road facilities and major renovations accommodate all users and all means of travel. The city commits to building 15 miles of new protected bike lanes and will …

Transportation for Older Adults Requires a Tapestry of Funding Sources

“We desperately need that service in our community, but how do we fund it?” is a common complaint I hear across the country as communities try to meet the growing demand for transportation services. A recent publication, Weaving It Together: A Tapestry of Transportation Funding for Older Adults, addresses this important question. The report by the AARP Public Policy Institute highlights seven case studies that show how transportation providers in diverse communities combine federal grants with state, local and private-sector …

Active Living for All Ages: Creating Neighborhoods Around Transit

“You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl,” says Lila Sanger, who grew up in New York City and found her perfect retirement home in the Jefferson, an independent living condo complex in one of Arlington, Virginia’s dense urban neighborhoods near Metro. “I chose the Jefferson for two reasons: the location, and the location.” The extensive county transit network provides almost door-to-door service to Lila’s local haunts, such as …