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Older Adults ‘Disproportionately Impacted by Unsafe Streets,’ AARP Tells Highway Administration

We wrote to the Federal Highway Administration last week urging them to factor older adults into how they allocate more than $100 million in federal grants made possible through the bipartisan infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed in November. 

Calling the grants “a historic opportunity to provide a safer and more accessible transportation system,” David Certner, legislative counsel and legislative policy director for government affairs at AARP, offered recommendations in a letter to the Federal Highway Administration aimed at improving roadways and transportation for all Americans: 

  • Projects that receive grants should incorporate AARP’s five key goals to improve transportation: enhancing mobility, ensuring affordability, securing equity, prioritizing accessibility and supporting sustainability and healthy living. 

  • Consider the needs of older adults in prioritizing the Safe Streets and Roads for All program, which funds projects aimed at improving roadside safety. We're also supporting the Reconnecting Communities program, which aims to improve connectivity and pedestrian safety in communities that are divided by highways or other types of transportation infrastructure. 

Certner noted that more than 1 in 5 pedestrians killed in a roadside accident in 2019 were age 65 and older — even though older adults account for just 16 percent of the population. He urged federal officials to develop transportation policies and programs that bolster safety and access “not only for older Americans, but for all people, regardless of age, income level, ability and background.” 

Read our letter to the Federal Highway Administration, and read more about transportation resources available to older adults and people with disabilities.

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