183884 Barriers Older Adults Face When Accessing Public Transportation: Survey Results and Travel Training Evaluation

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rhianna JoIris Babka, MSW , Traffic Safety Center, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Jill F. Cooper, MSW , Traffic Safety Center, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
As the older adult population doubles, nationwide, from 2010 to 2040 there is an increased need for adequate, accessible transportation. While only 5% of older adults use public transit as their primary mode of transportation it represents an alternative for those needing to restrict or cease driving. Research shows a correlation between driving cessation and various negative sequelae, from depression to social isolation. Public transportation provides a vital source of mobility, and access to medical and social needs, for non-driving older adults.

Through an extensive literature review, we identified barriers older adults face when accessing public transportation. We then conducted a survey on transit habits and attitudes of older adults in Alameda County, using a convenience sample of 259 adults age 65 and older at ten senior centers throughout the East San Francisco Bay Area.

50 % of older adults use private transportation. 53% feel “never” or only “sometimes” safe at bus stops. 30% chose convenience as critical when choosing transportation. The findings suggest that older adults (i) do not have enough information on accessing public transit, (ii) are concerned with real or perceived crime while utilizing public transit, and (iii) would be more likely to ride public transit under the right conditions.

These findings are part of a larger study evaluating travel training programs; which will contribute to current policy and practice. Next, the project team will convene seniors' groups and transit agencies at state and local levels in order to decrease barriers to transit and increase transportation options.

Learning Objectives:
Recognize the importance and growing need of transportation alternatives that meet the needs of the older adult population. Identify key barriers older adults face when accessing public transportation. Articulate policy implications and opportunities pertaining to older adult transportation needs.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Currently as a social welfare graduate student, older adult mobility, barriers to public transit, and travel training, have been the focus of my studies. As the primary Graduate Student Researcher researching older adult mobility at the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center, I am experienced in speaking on behalf of this project, as well as developing accompanying materials.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.