According to AARP Public Policy Institute research, more than 100 million Americans do not drive. Yet our transportation systems are still built primarily around individual car ownership. Ride-hailing services, like Lyft, along with public transportation systems are beginning to work together to reimagine how our future transportation infrastructure can improve quality of life for people of every age and background.
While innovations in transportation tend to be viewed as a trend unique to urban communities and settings, new technologies are now enabling service providers to capitalize on a previously untapped market: rural communities. With a unique set of challenges and opportunities—and enabled by today’s technology—these rural markets allow transportation service providers to rethink the kinds of services they provide, how to scale those services, and how to make them more accessible. That movement toward innovation in rural markets needs to grow.
From creating a trailblazing initiative that trains bank employees to identify and report suspected financial exploitation, to shining the light on the detrimental health effects and high costs of social isolation, AARP’s Public Policy Institute kept a frenetic pace in 2018, underscoring its identity as a leading “think-and-do” tank. Throughout the year, PPI researched, crunched data and analyzed critical policy issues facing older adults and presented solutions and findings here.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.
The United States is quickly approaching a historic milestone. By 2035, the number of older adults age 65 and older will exceed the number of children for the first time in American history. Each day, 10,000 people turn 65, and that will continue for years to come. This will impact states and communities and reshape industries.
One of the most exciting developments in the livable communities movement is the increasing collaboration between aging professionals and planners—professionals who shape the form and function of future communities. Some incredible progress was made on this front at the 2018 Livable Communities for All Ages (LCA) Summit in San Francisco March 29.
Hosted in Dallas, the 2017 AARP Livable Communities National Conference was an opportunity for elected officials, planning professionals, local leaders and community advocates from throughout the nation to share ideas, best practices and solutions for making towns, cities and communities more livable for people of all ages.
Well-designed, transit-rich neighborhoods provide many benefits to residents of all ages, as I document in, “ Independence Found in Downsizing to a Transit Rich Neighborhood.” These neighborhoods also provide dividends to the larger community, generating higher property values, rents, and revenue than real estate located further away from high quality public transportation services. Cities as diverse as Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, Detroit, and Washington, DC have all strengthened their regional economies through investment in transit-oriented development (TOD). And because their residents walk and bike more, TOD residents reap some health benefits as well.
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