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Aging baby boomers change driving and travel patterns of senior citizen population

Consumer Reports News: May 06, 2011 02:03 PM

America's seniors make up a growing number of both drivers and public transportation users, reflecting the fact that the Baby Boom generation is reaching age 65 and beyond. A new report from the AARP Public Policy Institute analyzing the latest 2009 National Household Travel Survey found that since 2001, the use of public transportation has increased by 40 percent specifically for people age 65 and older. The report also found 15 percent of that same age demographic reported using public transportation in the past month and 12 percent of all trips were made by people over 65.

The study also found that 80 percent of older drivers have a personal vehicle as many older adults depend on their cars to live independently.

“Making roads safer for older Americans will make them safer for everyone,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.

The AARP report predicts that older travelers will change the landscape of transportation in the coming years, and the swelling population will push transportation planners and policymakers to adapt to this shift. To that end, the AARP supported the reintroduction of two pieces of legislation they describe as making roads and transportation safer and more user-friendly, plus safe travel measures for not only cars but also bicycles, pedestrians, and other forms of transport.

Seniors can check out our report on best cars for older drivers, which includes advice on features worth older driver's attention like stability control, visibility, ease of ingress/egress, and control design.

How the Travel Patterns of Older Adults Are Changing: Highlights from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey [AARP]

Maggie Shader

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