Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Poor public transit called threat to older Americans

Communities that now rely almost solely on automobiles will face problems as today's baby boomers turn into tomorrow's seniors and have limited public transit options.

A new study says more than 15.5 million seniors, aged 65 to 79, will have poor or nonexistent access to public transportation by 2015.

Many outlying suburbs and "exurbs" simply have few options for getting around for those who do not drive.

"The baby boom generation grew up and reared their own children in communities that for the first time in human history, were built on the assumption that everyone would be able to drive," said John Robert Smith, co-chair of Transportation for America, a coalition pushing for better public transportation.

Access to public transit can be an issue for quality of life, or even a matter of life and death.

Without affordable travel options, seniors 65 and older who no longer drive make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor and 65 percent fewer trips to see family and friends.

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