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					TRANSPORTATION • 9
                                                                                                         Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................9-1
AARP PRINCIPLES ..................................................................................................................9-2
TRANSPORTATION PLANNING..............................................................................................9-3
DRIVING
   Introduction ........................................................................................................................9-7
SAFE DRIVING .........................................................................................................................9-8
THE TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT...............................................................................................9-12
OCCUPANT PROTECTION ....................................................................................................9-14
VEHICLE DESIGN...................................................................................................................9-16
ALTERNATIVES TO DRIVING ...............................................................................................9-17
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND PARATRANSIT..............................................................9-18
WALKING AND BICYCLING ..................................................................................................9-22
RURAL TRANSPORTATION ..................................................................................................9-24
SPECIALIZED SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY AND PEOPLE
  WITH DISABILITIES..........................................................................................................9-25
COORDINATION OF HUMAN SERVICES TRANSPORTATION...........................................9-27
PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES............................................................................9-28




Transportation

TC-1                                                                                     The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007
TRANSPORTATION
                                                                                      INTRODUCTION

                           Older adults living independently in their community need transportation to
                           the places and services that support their independence. These community
                           residents are best served by a multimodal transportation system that is highly
                           interconnected. Such a complex network gives individuals mobility choices in
                           addition to the automobile: pedestrian facilities, as well as bikes, buses, trains,
                           planes and, where suitable, waterborne transportation. As federal, state and
                           local policymakers and planners strive to make effective transportation
                           investments, they need to incorporate the mobility requirements of the
                           burgeoning older adult population. These planning measures must include, as
                           an integral component, attention to the transportation access needs of people
                           with disabilities, a disproportionate share of whom are members of the older
                           population.
                           Like people of all ages older individuals rely most heavily on automobiles for
                           transportation. For example people age 50 and older make nearly 90 percent
                           of their local trips by private vehicle. The percentage of trips older
                           individuals make by car is expected to increase with the percentage of the
                           older population licensed to drive. By 2010, 90 percent of women and nearly
                           100 percent of men over age 65 will have been licensed drivers for most of
                           their adult lives. As they continue to age, however, older people face a
                           growing likelihood of functional impairment. Hence they must increasingly
                           rely on alternatives to driving, including ride-sharing, walking, public
                           transportation and paratransit services, as well as options for interstate travel
                           such as air, rail and bus service. All of these must be safe, affordable,
                           accessible, dependable and user-friendly.
                           Transportation and livable communities–Mobility options and housing
                           (see Chapter 8, Housing: Building Livable Communities) are key components
                           of a livable community, which not only promotes the physical independence
                           of its residents, but also provides a setting that enhances quality of life and
                           the active social engagement of residents with one another. Chapter 8
                           includes a special section on livable communities that broadly highlights
                           some of the major housing and community development policies that help
                           make a community more livable for its residents. This chapter on
                           transportation should be viewed as part of the larger livable communities
                           agenda.




                                                                                                 Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                                 9-1
TRANSPORTATION


                 AARP PRINCIPLES
                 All individuals should have a range of safe, accessible,
                 dependable and affordable transportation options that
                 enhance mobility, enable independent living, facilitate
                 employment opportunity and foster social engagement.
                 All communities should examine the connections between
                 transportation and land-use, and use those findings to
                 coordinate transportation and land-use decisions that will
                 enhance accessibility for all people.




Transportation

9-2                                                The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007
TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
Background
                           Transportation policy is developed and implemented at the federal, state and
                           local levels. Federal policy is found in large part in the Safe, Accountable,
                           Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users, 2005
                           (SAFETEA—LU) and is implemented by various agencies that are part of
                           the Department of Transportation (DOT). These include the Federal
                           Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, National Highway
                           Traffic Safety Administration, and Federal Aviation Administration.
                           Transportation planning is conducted primarily at the state and regional
                           levels—by state departments of transportation for statewide and rural areas
                           and by regional planning organizations (often called metropolitan planning
                           organizations or MPOs) for the more high-density population areas around
                           cities. These entities assess and analyze transportation resources and needs
                           for their regions and develop short- and long-range transportation plans.
                           Federal law designates the state departments of transportation and the MPOs
                           as the agencies that determine the uses of federal funding for roads and
                           highways, as well as public transportation and bicycle and pedestrian
                           programs. Eight out of ten people in the US live within the federally defined
                           metropolitan areas for which there are MPOs, according to a 2003 Brookings
                           Institution study.
                           The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is the MPO document that
                           enumerates project lists and funding levels over the short term (e.g., three
                           years). TIPs are updated every two to three years. Regions are also required
                           to assess future transportation needs—generally developed using a 20-year
                           time horizon—and adopt long-range transportation plans (LRTPs) to meet
                           these projections. The LRTP process considers land-use development
                           patterns, transportation capacity assessments and demographic trends to
                           ascertain the scope and location of needed transportation investments. The
                           plans are updated every four or five years.
                           The LRTPs increasingly allocate funds for public transportation investments
                           (e.g., bus and light- or heavy-rail), as well as for intelligent transportation
                           system projects to enhance the capacity of existing facilities through the use
                           of technology (e.g., through traffic signal prioritization for emergency and/or
                           transit vehicles). In addition, transportation demand management programs
                           address the demand side of the transportation calculus by promoting ride-
                           sharing, the use of alternative modes (e.g., public transportation, walking and
                           bicycling), and telecommuting.
                           SAFETEA—LU provides $286.5 billion through fiscal year 2009 for
                           highway, public transportation and road safety programs. The act increases
                           funding for several types of programs of particular concern to older people:
                           specialized transportation for elderly people and individuals with disabilities,



                                                                                                Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                                9-3
                 rural transportation, public transportation, and safety-related research and
                 programs.
                 The act also strengthens the federal requirement for citizen participation in
                 decisionmaking. For instance, MPOs are required to develop a participation
                 plan that describes the methods by which the public may comment on an
                 LRTP. The plan is to be developed in consultation with interested parties.
                 The process in the act for creating the newly required coordinated public
                 transit–human services transportation plan presents another opportunity for
                 public participation. Agencies responsible for the plan are required to include
                 older adults, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with low incomes in
                 the development of the plan. Such plans are required for transit projects
                 funded by the Elderly and Disabled, New Freedom, and Job Access and
                 Reverse Commute transit programs. Strategic state highway safety plans
                 required by the act also provide an opportunity for advocates to promote
                 design improvements, such as signage, lighting and road markings, that
                 enhance safety for all road users and for older people in particular.
                 In the development of their LRTPs, both states and MPOs are now required
                 to conduct public meetings at convenient and accessible locations at
                 convenient times; employ visualization techniques to describe plans; and
                 make public information about the plans available in an electronically
                 accessible format. Visualization techniques, such as drawings, computer
                 models, visual simulation, geographic information system (GIS) maps, and
                 other state-of-the-art techniques can help citizens understand complex
                 problems and projects, and their impact in developing transportation plans
                 and programs.
                 Although states and MPOs are required to certify to the US Department of
                 Transportation that their transportation planning processes include citizen
                 participation, there is wide variation in citizen participation mechanisms.
                 Critical to the planning process is identifying areas where there are
                 concentrations of older people so that public transportation systems can
                 provide appropriate routes and services. Also needed is infrastructure
                 improvement for pedestrian access to goods and services and for safety-
                 related upgrades to roads and highways, for both automobile drivers and
                 passengers, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.
                 Counties, cities and towns also focus extensively on the development and
                 maintenance of transportation infrastructure. These planning and
                 administrative oversight responsibilities are usually located in either
                 departments of public works, transportation or community development.
                 The goal of local planners and engineers is to ensure the safe and efficient
                 movement of people and goods in the jurisdiction through strategic capital
                 investments and operating improvements. Whether it be filling potholes,
                 adding turn lanes, installing bus shelters and increasing transit services, or
                 looking at the connections between future land uses and transportation
                 needs, local transportation professionals must strive to meet the accessibility
                 needs of their constituents.


Transportation

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                           Building livable communities—Transportation planning that focuses on
                           providing mobility for all community residents—older and younger, local or
                           commuting—is a key component in creating livable communities. One of the
                           attributes of such a community is that individuals, regardless of functional
                           abilities, can use a variety of transportation modes to get where they want to
                           go, whether they are shopping, going to the doctor, or visiting friends or
                           family. The creation of a livable community takes sustained coordination
                           between transportation and community planners (for more on livable
                           communities, see Chapter 8, Housing). To complement that discussion, three
                           principles of livable communities will be addressed here: land use,
                           affordability and accessibility.
                           Land use—One basic tenet of transportation planning is that different land
                           uses generate varying levels of trip demand. For example areas of retailers
                           and restaurants will generate more trips and require more dedicated parking
                           than similarly sized low-density residential neighborhoods.
                           The history of land-use planning in the twentieth century has been to
                           separate commercial, residential, retail and industrial uses according to
                           generally accepted planning principles. This approach has been extensively
                           critiqued, and a shift toward more mixed-use areas is evident in many small
                           and large cities, as well as some urbanizing counties. The benefit of mixed
                           land use is that people will make fewer automobile trips (e.g., for shopping,
                           housing and services) because of the proximity of various establishments.
                           Key to well-designed mixed-use areas are attention to pedestrian safety, the
                           use of traffic-calming techniques, and appropriately balanced parking
                           requirements. In addition by adding transit services, concentrations of mixed
                           land uses can become neighborhoods that are linked to the broader region
                           via the transit network. This scenario diminishes the need for regional
                           automobile trips, thereby improving efficiencies in the overall transportation
                           network.
                           One approach to mixed-use planning is transit-oriented development (TOD),
                           a compact, walkable, mixed-use development located within a walkable
                           distance from a public transit station (almost universally a fixed-rail system).
                           Among the benefits of TOD are expanded transportation options; improved
                           health of residents (since TODs encourage walking and biking); increased
                           household savings (since less money is spent on daily transportation); and
                           proximity to retail such as pharmacies, groceries, and cafés. AARP does not
                           endorse TOD as the sole way of delivering those benefits, but such
                           development does embody many of the broader principles of a livable
                           community. TOD is being used extensively in communities as diverse as
                           Portland, OR, and Arlington County, VA.
                           Affordability—Transportation currently consumes more than 20 percent of
                           the average annual household budget. It is a major consumer expense that
                           many households are seeking to lower. As fuel prices have risen, many
                           people are choosing to drive less, link trips by purpose, or take public transit.
                           Carpooling is up over the past year, and the American Public Transportation


                                                                                                Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                                9-5
                   Association reports that overall transit ridership rose more than 3.2 percent
                   in the first six months of 2006.
                   Despite the fact that there are more privately owned cars in the US than
                   there are licensed drivers, many low-income households do not own vehicles.
                   These people are dependent on transit services to conduct their daily
                   business. In addition people who have cars are choosing public
                   transportation in greater numbers because of local congestion, ease of use,
                   relative affordability, and the high cost of parking.
                   The mixing of land uses in combination with the availability of transit
                   services has had a highly beneficial effect on the tax base of many urbanized
                   areas. Some baby boomers are migrating to these areas because of
                   convenience and accessibility. Consequently many of these areas have seen
                   rapid increases in the costs of housing and commercial rents. While the
                   benefits of such development are evident, housing affordability remains a
                   concern for many policymakers and consumers. Techniques such as set-
                   asides for low- and moderate-income housing units (e.g., inclusionary zoning)
                   and density bonuses for developers that construct such units are being
                   employed to address affordability concerns (for more on affordability, see
                   Chapter 8, Housing: Building Livable Communities).
                   Accessibility—Transportation infrastructure design needs to focus on
                   accessibility across all modes of travel. More attention needs to be paid to the
                   travel environment to ensure that facilities accommodate the needs of older
                   drivers and pedestrians and enhance safety for all users. Both public transit
                   providers and private carriers need vehicles and service standards that
                   maximize choice for consumers of all ability levels as they make their travel
                   decisions.
                   The focus on accessibility often finds expression in the physical
                   infrastructure (e.g., road signage; accessible transit stops; pedestrian
                   countdown clocks; curb cuts; and sidewalk availability, upkeep and width),
                   which facilitates the safe and easy movement of all network users. It is really
                   the extension of universal design (see Chapter 8, Housing: Building Livable
                   Communities) into the public realm, which, combined with high accessibility
                   standards for buildings and services, results in a transportation network that
                   maximizes choice for all users, regardless of their functional abilities.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                               TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
                   Both the Federal Transit Administration and the Administration on Aging
                   should encourage state and local governments to provide older Americans,
                   including those with disabilities, with greater opportunities to participate in
                   planning for community-based transportation systems and services.
                   Congress should increase the amount of funding that is directly sub-allocated
                   to the metropolitan level.



Transportation

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             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                                                      TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
                           States, metropolitan planning organizations and local jurisdictions should:
                               consider the effects of transportation planning and land-use decisions on
                               the mobility of older people and people with disabilities;
                               examine the benefits of public transportation service improvements
                               before undertaking major road-building projects;
                               investigate the benefits of mixing land uses and increasing densities
                               around transit stops to encourage more diverse neighborhoods and
                               improve network efficiencies;
                               include affordable housing requirements and incentives in mixed-use
                               areas served by high levels of transit to ensure a diverse mix of
                               households;
                               focus on the safety and security of pedestrians in the design and
                               operation of transportation facilities;
                               actively promote public participation by consumers, including older
                               people, in transportation planning decisions, such as public
                               transportation routing, highway and road siting and design,
                               transportation demand management activities, and investment and
                               deployment of intelligent transportation systems; and
                               coordinate planning and programming activities to ensure that the
                               regional project priorities of metropolitan planning organizations are
                               reflected in the fiscally constrained state transportation plan.


DRIVING
Introduction
                           Most Americans arrive at their destination by automobile. National
                           Household Travel Survey data from 2001 reveal that seven out of eight
                           people age 50 and older are licensed drivers. This mode of travel is the
                           overwhelming choice of households, and this consumer preference is
                           reflected in the built environment. Given historical development patterns in
                           urban and suburban areas, and the character of rural areas, many
                           neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers and services are accessible only by
                           car. Although more communities are investing in alternative modes of
                           transportation (e.g., public transportation, walking and bicycling) the
                           automobile remains the dominant mode of personal mobility and
                           independence.




                                                                                              Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                               9-7
SAFE DRIVING
Background
                 Safe driving is a challenge for all drivers. Risks to safe driving may arise from
                 various factors. They may be related to the condition of a driver’s vehicle or
                 be wholly circumstantial, such as road and highway conditions, traffic,
                 weather, or time of day. But there are safety risks that are directly related to
                 drivers themselves. These risks may arise from physical limitation and
                 impairment, such as reduced visual acuity, range of motion or reaction time,
                 or a failure or inability to exercise proper judgment, whether because of lack
                 of experience or cognitive impairment. While functional ability varies
                 considerably among older individuals, as a group older individuals are more
                 likely than younger people to experience health impairments that affect their
                 driving skills and can make their driving unsafe. While some of these
                 conditions may be treatable, traffic safety experts are concerned that there
                 will be increasing numbers of at-risk drivers as the population ages.
                 Although people age 65 and older constituted 13 percent of the US
                 population in 2000, they suffered 18 percent of all traffic fatalities. This is
                 due in large part to their increased fragility. Although the American Geriatric
                 Society notes that older Americans have the lowest crash rate per licensed
                 driver of all driving age groups, older people injure more easily than their
                 younger counterparts and are more likely to die when injured in a crash.
                 Because the numbers of older drivers and vehicle miles traveled are
                 increasing, safe driving needs to be a strong focus for public policymakers
                 and consumers.
                 Regulation of driver licensing is a state function, and states differ from one
                 another in rules for getting and renewing licenses (see Chapter 11, Financial
                 Services and Consumer Products and Chapter 12, Personal and Legal Rights,
                 for information on federal identification and verification requirements that
                 will affect driver licensing). Many states require vision testing and rely on
                 license-renewal applicants to self-report medical conditions that might put
                 them at risk. All states have some avenue for referring drivers believed
                 unsafe—whether by health professionals, law enforcement officials or
                 friends and family—to the division of motor vehicles. Many states that allow
                 renewal by mail restrict that convenience to those with a clean driving record.
                 Illinois and New Hampshire require road-testing at renewal for older people.
                 One option for addressing concerns about the impact of aging on safe
                 driving is for states to have medical advisory boards (MABs), which can
                 evaluate referred individuals and recommend appropriate, individualized
                 licensing conditions. Recommendations might include restrictions on time of
                 day or areas for driving, the use of assistive technology, and/or requirements
                 to return for further testing if a progressive disease or condition is involved.
                 MABs can also recommend rehabilitation or remediation techniques to
                 enhance certain individuals’ fitness to drive.


Transportation

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                           In 2005, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
                           (NHTSA), 37 states had MABs. Of these, only two licensing agencies directly
                           employed their medical advisors; most were volunteer or paid consultants.
                           Almost all of the states with MABs had provisions to administer or
                           recommend license restrictions, suspensions, further testing or periodic
                           reexamination, or medical statements.
                           The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and
                           NHTSA are currently engaged in a three-year project to establish evidence-
                           based guidelines for driver licensing and make recommendations on the
                           appropriate role of MABs in the regulatory process. This empirical approach
                           to setting standards for driver licensing incorporates two types of evidence.
                           The first links a medical condition or functional impairment to impaired
                           driving and/or increased crash risk. The second demonstrates the
                           effectiveness of licensing practices or standards in improving performance
                           and/or lowering crash risk. By employing this approach, state licensing
                           agencies will be able to more effectively identify and address those drivers,
                           regardless of age, who may present heightened safety risks.
                           Research has identified some individual risk factors related to the likelihood
                           of car accidents. These factors include cognitive impairment, such as reduced
                           attention skills, and visual impairment, such as reduced visual acuity or
                           peripheral vision. Physical functioning, such as reaction time or range of
                           motion, may affect driving capacity.
                           Research is ongoing to identify other functional impairments that may
                           compromise an individual’s ability to drive safely. Better knowledge about
                           the indicators of impaired driving skills, and strategies for remediation, would
                           enable states to design licensing regulations that accurately identify and
                           effectively regulate unsafe drivers.
                           Many people assess their own age-related changes in their ability to drive.
                           They adjust their driving to include such behaviors as driving only during
                           daylight hours or at off-peak traffic times and avoiding left turns.
                           Encouraging informed self-assessment and self-regulation is a key strategy to
                           address unsafe driving behaviors.
                           In addition to self-assessment and self-regulation, traffic safety professionals
                           and specialists in safety and human factors are developing inexpensive and
                           minimally intrusive screening mechanisms to identify people who need to
                           have their driving skills assessed. Such mechanisms are useful in identifying
                           some of the impairments that increase with age.
                           A study by NHTSA and the Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration shows
                           that functional screening conducted by trained staff can identify drivers who
                           are at risk of an accident. Furthermore, the research concluded that drivers
                           who fail a skills assessment do not necessarily have to stop driving; they are
                           simply placed in an at-risk category. This process also may establish a need
                           for follow-up to more accurately diagnose underlying medical problems, to
                           consider a formal on-road driving evaluation, to consider changes in driving
                           habits that reduce exposure, and to explore the potential for remediation.

                                                                                                Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                                9-9
                   Screening for functional impairments also can be conducted outside the
                   regulatory setting. The American Medical Association in cooperation with
                   NHTSA has issued the Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older
                   Drivers to advise doctors on the links among health, aging and continued
                   driving competence. Health professionals can use the information to counsel
                   patients to understand, maintain or regain driving ability. The guide also
                   explains how to conduct a functional screening that may provide the basis
                   for referring a driver to a rehabilitation specialist.
                   Organizations such as the American Occupational Therapists Association
                   and the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists are developing
                   community resources for assessing drivers and remedying impaired
                   functioning where possible. For example occupational therapists trained and
                   certified in driver assessment and rehabilitation may help older drivers
                   overcome certain functional impairments that affect driving skills. Currently,
                   however, certified driver rehabilitation specialists are few in number and
                   unavailable in most communities across the US, and many health
                   professionals are unaware of the relationship between impaired functioning
                   and driver risk.
                   Many motor vehicle administration personnel report that they rely on in-
                   person renewal to identify individuals who may need further testing. In-
                   person renewal gives motor vehicle staff the opportunity to observe the most
                   obvious functional impairments, such as confusion or visual impairment, that
                   are known to affect driving skills. These observations may prompt further
                   investigation. Most states give motor vehicle agencies the discretion to
                   require some kind of testing or a doctor’s certification of health if there is
                   probable cause to believe that the renewal applicant has an impairment. The
                   training of motor vehicle staff helps them make informed and fair decisions
                   about driver functioning that are not based on stereotypes about age or
                   disability.
                   A number of states have instituted task forces to work on how best to keep
                   an aging population both safe and mobile. These task forces look at
                   programs tailored to helping older drivers maintain their driving skills and to
                   identifying compromised skills. They also may consider how to provide
                   alternative transportation for those who are driving less or not at all. Among
                   the states with current or past task forces are California, Maryland, Missouri
                   and New York.

             FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                                                                    SAFE DRIVING
                   Federal, state and local governments should support the expansion of public
                   education programs on safe driving, as well as the number of qualified
                   professionals performing scientifically based driver assessment, rehabilitation
                   and education.




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             FEDERAL & STATE POLICY
                                                                                       SAFE DRIVING
                           The Department of Transportation and the states should promote the
                           development and dissemination of information for health, aging and
                           transportation professionals on the interaction between health and driving
                           functions.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                                                       SAFE DRIVING
                           Congress should fund additional research by the National Highway Traffic
                           Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Institute on Aging, and the
                           Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to determine the relationship
                           between driving performance and all age-related functional limitations. The
                           Department of Transportation (DOT) should actively disseminate the results
                           of this research to the public and to health, aging and transportation
                           providers.
                           Congress and the NHTSA should support development of standards for
                           certification of driver assessment, education and rehabilitation.
                           The DOT (including the NHTSA and FHWA) and other agencies should
                           cooperate in encouraging states to develop, implement and evaluate model
                           driver licensing systems. This could include improved driver assessment,
                           individualized licensing options, and uniform medical guidelines for
                           counseling and licensing functionally impaired drivers.

             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                                                                       SAFE DRIVING
                           State and local governments should improve public safety by requiring all
                           drivers to renew licenses in person at regular intervals.
                           State and local governments should use effective, evidence-based assessment
                           models to identify at-risk drivers. The licensing agency should:
                               require assessment of functional impairments, such as reduced vision or
                               cognitive skills,
                               provide counseling and referrals that enable individuals to seek
                               professional evaluation and remediation for functional impairments,
                               require that individuals who exhibit functional impairments be given a
                               road test tailored to identify impediments to safe driving, and
                               take appropriate action, including issuing licenses tailored to the
                               individual, based on the results of a road test.
                           In addition, state and local governments should:
                               provide information and counseling on alternative modes of
                               transportation for individuals whose licenses are revoked;


                                                                                            Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                             9-11
                     establish medical advisory boards that evaluate individuals whose driving
                     capacity may be impaired and advise motor vehicle administrators on
                     medical issues—These boards should include physicians and other
                     professionals who are financially compensated and immune from liability
                     claims by individuals under review;
                     utilize appropriate procedures for appealing license denials, suspensions
                     and revocations;
                     support increased enforcement and penalties for those who continue to
                     drive after their licenses have been suspended or revoked; and
                     support and promote information and public education about safe
                     driving, including programs that encourage self-assessment and self-
                     regulation.


THE TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT
Background
                 Improvements in the travel environment—including sidewalks, crosswalks,
                 roads, highways, signage, and traffic monitoring and information systems—
                 can improve vehicle and pedestrian safety.
                 Proper design and regulation of intersections can reduce the danger of
                 accidents occurring during left turns (the highest-risk situation for older
                 drivers). Signs giving adequate advanced warning, standardized road
                 markings, larger signs with more legible fonts, more reflective sign materials
                 (particularly on entrance and exit ramps), better road and sign maintenance,
                 and better-illuminated highways would help all motorists drive more safely.
                 Such improvements help lower accident rates and health care and repair
                 costs, which result in reduced auto insurance rates. For example in 2002
                 Detroit increased the size of street-name signs, repainted median strips,
                 installed larger and brighter stoplights, upgraded walk lights, and added left-
                 turn lanes along one busy street. In 2003 Detroit saw a 35 percent drop in
                 injuries from crashes for drivers age 65 and older and a 4 percent drop for
                 drivers age 25 to 64.
                 Improving the travel environment takes long-range planning and substantial
                 public investment. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway
                 Administration (FHWA) has developed guidelines for road and highway
                 design intended to improve safety for older drivers and pedestrians. These
                 are contained in the Older Driver Highway Design Handbook and the
                 Guidelines and Recommendations to Accommodate Older Drivers and
                 Pedestrians. However, these are only guidelines and not mandatory;
                 implementation is discretionary with local agencies. To become mandatory
                 the guidelines would have to be adopted as standards through federal
                 rulemaking and incorporated into the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control
                 Devices.
                 The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A
                 Legacy for Users (SAFETEA—LU) elevates the Highway Safety

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9-12                                                         The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007
                           Improvement Program (HSIP) to a stand-alone core program. The HSIP
                           requires states to develop strategic highway safety plans in a collaborative and
                           consultative process with stakeholders. Other key safety features in
                           SAFETEA—LU include a research and demonstration program to improve
                           traffic safety for older drivers, a new Safe Routes to Schools program, and a
                           new program to improve traffic signs and pavement markings.
                           Another component critical to planning and developing safe travel
                           environments is that streets, intersections, curbs and other infrastructure
                           comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The goal should be meeting
                           these requirements by using “universal design” standards to help make
                           transportation accessible and safe to all people, including older people and
                           people with disabilities.
                           As noted above, “travel environment” includes modes of travel other than
                           the automobile. According to the FHWA, bicycling and walking facilities
                           should be incorporated into all transportation projects unless exceptional
                           circumstances exist. This approach, in which streets are designed and
                           operated to enable safe access for all users (including pedestrians and
                           bicyclists), is often known as “complete streets.” That is, pedestrians,
                           bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to
                           safely move along and across the street. By establishing a transportation
                           network that accommodates multiple modes, consumers will have greater
                           choice in safely getting to destinations according to their time, budget and
                           personal preferences.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                                          THE TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT
                           Congress should require federally funded highways and roads to have clearly
                           visible markings and signs, increased lighting, and safe entries and exits.
                           The Department of Transportation should encourage states and localities to
                           implement the guidelines in the Older Driver Highway Design Handbook,
                           and should ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
                           Congress should:
                               require that road projects are routinely designed and operated to enable
                               safe access for users of all ages and abilities, including pedestrians,
                               bicyclists, motorists and transit riders;
                               provide financial incentives for design modifications intended to improve
                               the driving environment for older people; and
                               continue to authorize the state and community highway safety grant
                               program.
                           The Federal Highway Administration should ensure that the activities of the
                           National Technical Assistance Center for Senior Transportation are designed
                           to improve both driver safety and the use of alternative modes of travel by
                           older Americans.



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             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                                                THE TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT
                   State and local jurisdictions should:
                       use funds for highway safety maintenance and improvement available
                       under federal transportation law;
                       make technological improvements; ensure maintenance of and improved
                       placement and visibility of highway signs, roadway markers and
                       pedestrian signs; and pursue engineering practices that increase public
                       safety for all—This can be accomplished by adopting and implementing
                       the roadway design guidelines in the Older Driver Highway Design
                       Handbook;
                       adopt and implement transportation plans that accommodate pedestrians
                       and bicyclists—Implementation should include evaluating roads to
                       confirm their ability to accommodate all users; updating design, planning
                       and policy manuals; and training planning personnel to plan and design
                       “complete streets”; and
                       enact handicapped parking laws, including provisions for reciprocity
                       between states and for temporary parking permits, that conform to the
                       Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and otherwise ensure that
                       states and localities fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities
                       Act.


OCCUPANT PROTECTION
Background
                   In crashes of the same severity, older individuals are more likely to die than
                   younger people. Increased seat belt use, airbag installation and safer vehicle
                   design, along with improved highway systems design and operation, could
                   reduce fatalities and the severity of injuries. Some technological
                   advancements in occupant-protection mechanisms that may improve safety
                   include four-point seat belts, safety belt pre-tensioners, advanced front-seat
                   airbags (which adjust their explosive force to the passenger’s weight), and
                   side airbags. Although federal law requires airbags in all new automobiles,
                   government research shows that airbags reduce crash fatalities in head-on
                   collisions by 1.5 percent for drivers age 70 and older, compared with 11
                   percent for all drivers. Further research is needed to explain the disparate
                   benefits of airbags for different age groups and to develop airbags that
                   mitigate injuries to older people and young children. Currently, National
                   Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations allow owners
                   who demonstrate particular vulnerabilities to have on/off switches installed
                   for their airbags.
                   NHTSA research shows a clear correlation between seat belt use and a
                   reduced likelihood of crash fatalities for individuals age 55 and older. In
                   addition the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which reported that the

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                           higher fatality rates for older drivers and passengers result from physical
                           fragility, has called for improved occupant-protection mechanisms.
                           The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A
                           Legacy for Users authorizes seat belt and occupant-protection programs that
                           make funding available to states to adopt and implement effective programs
                           to reduce highway deaths and injuries resulting from individuals riding
                           unrestrained or improperly restrained in motor vehicles.

             FEDERAL & STATE POLICY
                                                                            OCCUPANT PROTECTION
                           Federal and state governments should actively promote seat belt use,
                           especially by older individuals.
                           The Department of Transportation and the states should require automakers
                           to fully disclose the possible consequences of airbag use by vulnerable
                           populations and provide public information and education on ways to
                           improve safe use.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                                            OCCUPANT PROTECTION
                           Congress should require automobiles, minivans and light trucks to meet
                           stricter safety standards, through innovations such as improved interior
                           components to prevent head injury; antilock brakes; stronger side impact,
                           rollover and roof-crush protections; and antilacerating glass. Federal rules
                           should require driver and passenger airbags in automobiles, minivans and
                           light trucks. In particular Congress should require the development and
                           implementation of federal standards designed to improve safety for
                           vulnerable occupants of vehicles.
                           Congress should require and fund research into understanding the factors
                           that contribute to the differences in fatality rates for older and younger
                           people involved in car crashes and to address issues of safety.
                           The Department of Transportation should conduct and support research on
                           improving the effectiveness of airbags for vulnerable populations, including
                           older people and children.
                           Congress should continue to authorize seat belt and occupant-protection
                           incentive grants for the states.

             STATE POLICY
                                                                            OCCUPANT PROTECTION
                           States should use funds for occupant-protection and safety programs
                           available under federal transportation law and continue to mandate the use of
                           seat belts in motor vehicles.



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The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                               9-15
VEHICLE DESIGN
Background
                   Vehicle design features that increase comfort and safety also improve
                   transportation for older people. For example the right design can make it
                   easier to get in and out of an automobile or enhance the visibility of the
                   instrument panel. Such adaptations can help overcome barriers to continued
                   driving. At the same time low-floor and kneeling buses enhance public
                   transportation services for people with mobility restrictions.
                   A number of products for aftermarket installation are now sold as devices
                   that can improve safety for individuals experiencing functional changes.
                   These range from low-tech items, such as nonplanar mirrors (to improve
                   awareness of hazards at the side of a car), to high-tech devices, such as
                   hazard-warning and collision-avoidance technologies. However, research
                   showing safety outcomes for older users is limited and generally proprietary
                   to manufacturers.
                   Increasingly cars are equipped with new technologies, such as global
                   positioning system devices or cellular telephones. While these can benefit
                   drivers, for example, by helping with navigation or safety-related calls for
                   assistance, they may also make the driving task overly complicated and
                   increase safety risks. Design features can minimize the negative consequences
                   of multiple new technologies. Current research on the safety risks of multiple
                   in-vehicle technologies is limited.
                   One promising new technology is electronic stability which helps improve
                   vehicle handling by automatically correcting for under-steering and over-
                   steering, which can potentially lead to loss of control. Electronic stability
                   systems can also improve traction.
                   The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash-tests cars every
                   year and rates how well they protect drivers and passengers during front- and
                   side-impact collisions. These ratings provide a useful basis for comparing
                   vehicle safety. A high percentage of crashes involving older adults are side-
                   impact collisions, making it particularly important that older car-purchasers
                   have information about the best protection from such incidents.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                                                VEHICLE DESIGN
                   Federal standards governing vehicle design, control and operation should
                   incorporate available and emerging technologies to promote safe driver
                   performance and vehicle crashworthiness.
                   The Department of Transportation (DOT) should conduct and support
                   research on vehicle designs that enhance both safety and usability for older
                   people and disseminate the findings to the public and vehicle manufacturers.


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                           The DOT should research and publish information for consumers on the
                           effects of installing and using new technologies marketed as safety
                           improvements, focusing on at-risk subpopulations, as appropriate.
                           The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should require that
                           prospective vehicle buyers be provided with information on safety ratings.


ALTERNATIVES TO DRIVING
Background
                           While most Americans get around using their own automobiles, individuals
                           who cannot or choose not to drive need other transportation options. These
                           alternatives should be safe, affordable, dependable and user-friendly so that
                           people can stay connected to vendors, services and social activities in their
                           communities.
                           As many as 11 million Americans age 50 and older do not drive, and the
                           number of nondrivers—or potential transit users—will grow as the
                           population ages. Of the 6.8 million people age 65 and over who do not drive,
                           more than 54 percent stay home on any given day. And many of those who
                           do drive are likely to stop using their cars at some point; drivers age 70 and
                           above are expected to outlive their driving years—men by six years and
                           women by ten years.
                           Volunteer transportation services are an important resource for older people,
                           particularly those who need personalized service. These services are often
                           administered by private nonprofit organizations and may rely on both public
                           and private funding for support. For example a local aging-services program
                           might sponsor a transportation system, using a mix of volunteer and paid
                           drivers, and receive funding for administration and driver expenses from
                           federal, state and local sources, as well as from its own fund-raising activities.
                           Alternative transportation services, particularly volunteer programs, face
                           ongoing challenges, such as recruiting volunteers, protecting themselves from
                           liability, covering operational and administrative costs, and adhering to
                           regulations from multiple funders.

             FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                                                          ALTERNATIVES TO DRIVING
                           Congress, states and local governments should strongly support the
                           development and implementation of transportation programs and services
                           that improve and enhance community transportation resources for older
                           people.
                           Congress, states and local jurisdictions should promote public-private
                           partnerships and volunteer programs that seek to expand transportation
                           alternatives and reduce dependence on driving to help allow people who are
                           older or frail, or have disabilities to maintain independence.


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The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                                9-17
             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                                  ALTERNATIVES TO DRIVING
                   The Department of Transportation, in consultation and coordination with
                   the Administration on Aging, should continue to help meet the
                   transportation needs of nondrivers by conducting or supporting research,
                   acting as an information clearinghouse, and providing technical assistance on
                   nondriver needs to state and local transportation agencies.
                   Federally funded transportation safety research should extend to all modes of
                   transportation, including automobiles, public transportation, specialized
                   transportation (paratransit), walking and bicycling. Research and
                   development of safety mechanisms and strategies should identify and address
                   the needs of frail and vulnerable individuals.

             STATE POLICY
                                                                  ALTERNATIVES TO DRIVING
                   States should make gas-tax revenue, as well as general funds, available to
                   support transportation alternatives.


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND PARATRANSIT
Background
                   Public transportation is an important resource for older people. Nearly 10
                   percent of people age 50 and older report using public transportation at least
                   once per month. All federally funded public transportation providers reduce
                   fares in nonpeak periods for older riders to encourage their use of transit
                   services. According to the 2001 National Household Travel Survey,
                   nondrivers age 50 to 74 make 15 percent of their daily trips by transit (bus,
                   subway or commuter rail). Nondrivers age 75 and older make nearly 6
                   percent of their daily trips by transit. The availability of transit options helps
                   older people maintain independence, stay connected to their community, and
                   engage in a social life. The reduced fares for older riders also represent an
                   important asset transfer by the public sector.
                   Despite this steady usage rate, some public transportation systems present
                   barriers to use by older people: nearly one-third of people age 50 and older
                   with physical limitations perceive the failure of public transportation to go
                   where they want to go as a large problem. For those with physical limitations,
                   getting to public transportation is a challenge. And as with many public
                   transportation users, people age 50 and older often cite the limited frequency
                   of available trips (i.e., headways) and the extended length of travel time as
                   obstacles to transit use for local trips. Other factors may limit transit
                   ridership. For example service coverage may be limited; potential riders may
                   live several blocks from the nearest transit stop, or the transit service may not
                   connect to desired destinations. Also neighborhood traffic volumes and

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                           speeds, as well as sidewalk, streetlight and security conditions, may make
                           using public transportation unattractive.
                           Public transportation agencies in urban and rural areas receive funding from
                           federal, state and local governments, as well as from fare-box returns. The
                           Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A
                           Legacy for Users (SAFETEA—LU) authorizes Section 5307 Urbanized Area
                           Formula Program funds (for a total of $22.2 billion through 2009) for all
                           capital expenses (with requirements for a local match) for transit in urban
                           areas. In addition the Section 5309 program pays to establish new rail or bus
                           projects ($22.7 billion), the improvement and maintenance of existing rail
                           and other fixed “guideway” systems (transportation on rails such as light-rail
                           and some trolleys), and the upgrading of bus systems. Section 5310 provides
                           $584 million over five years for capital expenses associated with
                           transportation projects that serve the elderly and the disabled. In total
                           SAFETEA—LU provides $52.6 billion in transit funding through fiscal year
                           (FY) 2009, an increase of 46 percent over transit allocations in the previous
                           similar bill.
                           Under federal transportation law, urban transit authorities may receive
                           matching grants of up to 80 percent of the cost of purchasing vehicles or up
                           to 90 percent of the incremental costs of purchasing equipment for
                           compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition
                           SAFETEA—LU includes a competitive transportation grant program to
                           fund transportation projects and services for people with disabilities that
                           exceed the minimum requirements established by the ADA. The New
                           Freedom Initiative provides $339 million over a four-year period (FY 2006–
                           2009), with 60 percent of the funds for regions with more than 200,000
                           people and 40 percent for smaller metro and rural areas.
                           For older people the complementary paratransit service that the ADA
                           requires is a particularly important component of public transportation. The
                           ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities who wish to
                           use public transportation. Under the ADA fixed-route public
                           transportation—buses and trains—must be accessible to people with
                           disabilities. There are many types of disabilities other than those requiring
                           wheelchair accessibility, each with its own needs. Particularly at risk of being
                           denied eligibility are those individuals with “hidden” disabilities, such as
                           cognitive impairment.
                           The act requires public transportation providers, even those with wheelchair-
                           accessible vehicles, to offer paratransit services within three-quarters of a
                           mile of all fixed routes to people who cannot use fixed-route transit.
                           ADA paratransit service consists of origin-to-destination transportation
                           (either curb-to-curb or door-to-door) on specialized vehicles that are
                           procured by transit authorities and operated directly or through contractors.
                           The paratransit option must be comparable to the transit system’s fixed-route
                           service in terms of coverage area and days and hours of service; the total fare
                           cannot be more than twice the base fare for the fixed-route service, which is


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The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                               9-19
                 generally insufficient to cover the cost of the trip. In 2004 an average of
                 $2.21 was collected for each unlinked paratransit trip while the cost of
                 furnishing the service averaged nearly $23. Providers generally require these
                 trips to be scheduled by the close of business on the day before the trip. In
                 addition the rider may be accompanied by a friend or family escort (who
                 must pay the same fare as the rider) or by a personal care attendant (who
                 does not pay a fare). The rider must be certified as needing a personal care
                 attendant.
                 Only qualified individuals may use ADA paratransit services, and providers
                 must determine who is sufficiently disabled to be eligible. However,
                 transportation providers may find eligibility determinations difficult to
                 render.
                 The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides transit properties with
                 guidance on ADA eligibility and service provision issues and is responsible
                 for enforcing ADA implementation in public transportation. In 2006 the
                 Department of Transportation proposed new rules that would strengthen
                 ADA compliance by public transit providers, including requiring that local
                 transit providers entertain individual requests for “reasonable
                 accommodation” of available public transit services for particular individuals
                 with disabilities.
                 Public transportation providers report that demand for ADA paratransit is
                 rising rapidly because human services agencies are no longer offering
                 transportation for clients eligible for complementary paratransit trips. In
                 addition many paratransit providers have difficultly with no-shows for
                 scheduled trips, which diminish the resources available for other people
                 seeking services. At the same time riders in some areas complain that existing
                 paratransit services are expensive and undependable.
                 In 2000 an independent federal agency, the National Council on Disability,
                 issued an extensive review of ADA implementation. On public
                 transportation issues the council found a need for stepped-up
                 implementation and enforcement efforts for a number of reasons:
                    FTA guidelines permit self-certification of compliance, but the agency
                    does not conduct sufficient independent compliance reviews.
                    Complaint investigation and the implementation of sanctions are
                    inadequate, and the offices responsible for these tasks are understaffed
                    and underfunded.
                    Although FTA gives transit providers technical assistance for
                    implementation, there has been inadequate public education for riders
                    about transit use and their ADA-protected rights.
                 Passenger rail is another mobility option for midlife and older people who
                 travel both within congested regional corridors and between cities separated
                 by long distances. The 2001 National Household Travel Survey found that
                 people age 65 and older make more than one and a half million long-distance
                 trips (50 miles or longer) by train. Amtrak estimates that nearly a quarter of


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                           its national ridership (4.7 million people) is age 55 and older, and that on 13
                           of 36 routes, more than a third of the riders are age 55 and older.
                           In addition passenger rail provides essential service to many rural
                           communities, and it is an alternative to air travel in the more congested
                           corridors, such as the Northeast. Many states perceive rail as an important
                           contributor to economic development.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                  PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND PARATRANSIT
                           Congress should:
                               authorize and appropriate funds to provide states and local jurisdictions
                               with incentives for expanding and improving public transportation;
                               require and fund demonstration projects to promote the use of public
                               transportation by older people and people with disabilities;
                               increase funding for public transportation to improve the quality and
                               quantity of services for people with disabilities;
                               appropriate sufficient transit funds for capital assistance, operating
                               subsidies, specialized transit, rural assistance and research;
                               require research on how to develop and implement cost-effective
                               nonemergency medical transportation programs;
                               provide adequate funding for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
                               enforcement activities;
                               support nationwide passenger rail service that is integrated and
                               coordinated with regional, state and local passenger rails; and
                               establish a dependable funding mechanism that ensures continuing
                               broad-based nationwide passenger rail service.
                           The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Administration on Aging
                           should develop guidelines and provide technical assistance to transit
                           authorities on making eligibility decisions under the ADA and providing
                           information on available alternatives to people of all ages with disabilities.
                           FTA also should:
                               continue to educate the disability community and other rider
                               constituencies about their ADA rights and the use of accessible
                               transportation,
                               promote research on how to reduce paratransit service costs while
                               improving quality and dependability, and
                               ensure the accessibility of all transportation services offered to the public
                               and aggressively monitor and enforce timely ADA compliance by all
                               transportation providers, including operators of public transportation
                               and intercity over-the-road buses.
                           Specifically, FTA should use its authority to:
                               more vigorously enforce ADA regulations,
                               conduct compliance reviews,


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The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                               9-21
                      investigate complaints, and
                      impose meaningful sanctions for failures to comply with ADA
                      regulations.

             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                          PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND PARATRANSIT
                   States should:
                      maintain and increase investment in improved public transit systems, for
                      example, by purchasing accessible equipment and constructing
                      comfortable, safe and accessible bus stops;
                      aggressively seek to meet the transit and paratransit needs of people who
                      are older, frail or have disabilities by utilizing the higher federal match for
                      compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
                      actively promote use of public transportation;
                      require public transit systems to implement and enhance safety
                      regulations and mechanisms;
                      encourage transit authorities to reduce fares for disabled or low-income
                      elderly people;
                      ensure transportation providers’ compliance with the ADA, in part by
                      providing technical assistance to local transportation agencies and
                      authorities;
                      require that recipients of community development grants and other state
                      funds guarantee in their community planning and design efforts
                      accessibility to transit and safe access to facilities;
                      support passenger rail systems that are integrated and coordinated with
                      the nationwide passenger rail system; and
                      establish dependable funding mechanisms for investment in passenger
                      rail.


WALKING AND BICYCLING
Background
                   Walking and bicycling are important both as transportation modes under the
                   “complete streets” model and as physical activities that promote physical and
                   mental health. Walking ranks second only to the automobile as the most
                   common mode of transportation for people age 50 and older. The 2001
                   National Household Travel Survey showed that nondrivers age 50 to 74
                   make 26 percent of their trips on foot; nondrivers age 75 and older make 19
                   percent of their trips by walking.
                   However, the design of many communities does not encourage walking or
                   bicycling, nor does it provide for the safety of people who use such modes of
                   travel. Residential areas are often far from commercial facilities, prohibiting
                   pedestrian access to goods and services. Often sidewalks are nonexistent or
                   in poor condition, and traffic signals at crosswalks are not timed for the


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                           slower pace of older pedestrians. On a per mile basis walking is the most
                           dangerous mode of travel. The Surface Transportation Policy Project reports
                           that although only 8.6 percent of all trips are made on foot, 11.4 percent of
                           all traffic deaths are of pedestrians. According to the National Highway
                           Traffic Safety Administration 2002 Traffic Safety Facts, people age 55 and
                           older account for nearly one-third of pedestrian fatalities.
                           It is clear, however, that with public investment in infrastructure, pedestrian
                           safety can be dramatically improved. In 1999 the mayor of Salt Lake City
                           made pedestrian safety and walkability a policy priority. With capital
                           investments in traffic signals, signage, road markings, and countdown signals
                           and annunciators for pedestrian use, pedestrian fatalities were reduced 44
                           percent by 2004.
                           The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A
                           Legacy for Users (SAFETEA—LU) authorizes funding from the Highway
                           Trust Fund for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and safety projects and
                           calls for consideration of bicyclists and pedestrians in long-range
                           transportation planning. The Transportation Enhancements program makes
                           funding available for pedestrian and bicycle projects and encourages diverse
                           modes of travel. In addition SAFETEA—LU created Safe Routes to School,
                           a new program to encourage walking and bicycling to and from school. The
                           competitive formula grant program of $612 million over five years is
                           designed to improve safety, reduce traffic and curb air pollution around
                           schools. Importantly these benefits will extend to all segments of the
                           population who walk and bike near project-area schools.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                                           WALKING AND BICYCLING
                           Congress should strengthen requirements that support the safety of and
                           infrastructure for walking and bicycling.
                           Congress should continue to authorize and guarantee funding for the
                           Transportation Enhancements program and should fully fund the Safe
                           Routes to School program.

             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                                                           WALKING AND BICYCLING
                           States and local governments should require and fund safe and well-
                           maintained facilities and environments for nondrivers. These include
                           sidewalks, crosswalks, benches (as resting places for pedestrians), and bike
                           paths, as well as emergency communications systems and traffic management
                           plans.




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The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                             9-23
RURAL TRANSPORTATION
Background

                 Nearly 30 percent of households headed by someone age 65 or older are in
                 rural areas where little if any public transportation is available. The distances
                 between rural residences and necessary services, such as health care and
                 senior centers, exacerbate transportation problems for nondrivers,
                 particularly for the one in four chronically disabled rural residents who live in
                 households with no vehicle. People age 60 and older make 31 percent of all
                 rural transit trips; people with disabilities make 23 percent of these trips.
                 Federal transportation law addresses the needs of rural residents for public
                 transportation by providing capital and operating assistance to transit
                 providers in rural areas. This program, administered by the Federal Transit
                 Administration, is commonly called the Section 5311 program. The Safe,
                 Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy
                 for Users (SAFETEA—LU) significantly increases funding for this program
                 beyond the limits in earlier legislation. A total of $2.18 billion is authorized
                 under the measure, with the fiscal year (FY) 2004 allocation of $240 million
                 rising to $465 million in FY 2009.
                 In many places rural transit systems evolved from services developed for
                 clients of private, nonprofit organizations. They may cover multicounty
                 areas, single counties or single towns. These systems have successfully
                 coordinated funding for specialized transportation for the elderly and
                 individuals with disabilities (through Section 5310) with rural transportation
                 funding (Section 5311), as well as with state funding for human services and
                 public transportation. Promoting coordination of multiple funding sources at
                 the state level facilitates development and enhancement of rural
                 transportation services, as does federal authorization for flexible movement
                 of federal funds among programs.
                 A major concern for all older people, but particularly for residents of rural
                 areas, is the availability and cost of nonemergency medical transportation.
                 Some nonprofit and human services agencies provide such transportation,
                 but there is no targeted transportation funding or program to meet the needs
                 of people who cannot get to medically necessary nonemergency medical
                 services, such as dialysis or chemotherapy. Medicaid pays for nonemergency
                 transportation to ensure access to medical services for low-income
                 individuals receiving Medicaid-financed services, but Medicare does not
                 cover nonemergency medical transportation unless a patient is bedridden.
                 Nonemergency medical transportation is expensive, and costs increase when
                 people use ambulances for scheduled appointments because there is no other
                 option, a particular problem in rural areas. Riders eligible under the
                 Americans with Disabilities Act may use complementary paratransit, if
                 available, but very ill riders may need higher-level, more personalized service.
                 One solution might be to develop such a service as part of the existing


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                           complementary paratransit system. There is no research on how the public
                           transportation system could serve individuals needing nonemergency medical
                           transportation.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                                           RURAL TRANSPORTATION
                           Congress should continue funding the operating and capital costs of rural
                           public transportation and provide for monitoring and evaluating such
                           transportation to help identify needs for improvement and expansion.

             STATE POLICY
                                                                           RURAL TRANSPORTATION
                           States should:
                               ensure funding mechanisms for operating and capital expenses for rural
                               public transportation,
                               promote and monitor coordination of transportation funding and
                               programs in rural areas, and
                               develop affordable public and private nonemergency medical
                               transportation.


SPECIALIZED SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY AND PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES
Background
                           Since the 1970s federal legislation has authorized capital assistance grants for
                           specialized transportation for the elderly and people with disabilities. Known
                           as the Department of Transportation’s Section 5310 program, this assistance
                           helps state and local transportation agencies and nonprofit organizations
                           (such as senior centers and groups that provide educational and social
                           opportunities for people with disabilities) purchase vehicles to transport
                           clients.
                           The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A
                           Legacy for Users (SAFETEA—LU) continues the Section 5310 program by
                           designating $584 million of capital funding through 2009 to serve the special
                           needs of people who are elderly or have disabilities. The act also includes a
                           new provision for a seven-state pilot program to be operated in fiscal years
                           2006–2009. Under this measure Section 5310 funds may be used to pay for
                           operating assistance in addition to capital purchases. The outcomes in the
                           pilot states will be evaluated to determine whether this expanded authority
                           improves services to elderly individuals and those with disabilities.
                           The Older Americans Act (OAA) specifically makes transportation services a
                           priority among the social services funded under its Title III. Many OAA state
                           and local programs use part of their federal funding to provide transportation

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The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                              9-25
                   services. Typically transportation services are provided by transit operators
                   under contract with the local area agency on aging. These operators often
                   receive significant funding from other federal, state and local sources,
                   including the Medicaid and Head Start programs. Their viability depends on
                   the assurance that funds will be available from multiple sources, including the
                   Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Much of FTA’s mass-transit funding
                   is restricted for use as capital assistance, so human services grants are
                   important for operating funds. Coordination and cooperation among the
                   various funding sources at all levels of government promote the most
                   efficient and effective use of transportation funds.
                   The availability of transportation is also a concern of American Indian/
                   Alaskan Native communities. Although the federal government recognizes
                   American Indian tribes as sovereign nations, they still must go through state
                   transportation departments to obtain federal transportation funding.
                   SAFETEA—LU mandates a fair and equitable distribution of funds for
                   transportation services within states; however, most American Indian tribes
                   nationwide have difficulty accessing funds under this law.
                   The funding need for specialized paratransit for people with disabilities is
                   increasing with their growing integration into mainstream employment and
                   community activities. Since the implementation of the Americans with
                   Disabilities Act (ADA), public transportation providers have experienced a
                   large growth in demand for complementary paratransit for people with
                   disabilities. The federal New Freedom Initiative represents an additional
                   source of funding for the high-cost complementary paratransit that public
                   transportation agencies must provide under the ADA.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                      SPECIALIZED SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY AND PEOPLE WITH
                                                                DISABILITIES
                   Congress should require the Federal Transit Administration to evaluate how
                   well the Section 5310 program meets the needs of riders and in particular the
                   effectiveness of the new Section 5310 pilot program.
                   Congress should fund the Section 5310 program at a level sufficient to meet
                   needs for replacement vehicles and for new vehicles required to expand
                   services.
                   The Department of Transportation and the Administration on Aging (AoA)
                   should monitor and evaluate the adequacy of transportation services for all
                   older Americans. The AoA should encourage the aging community to help
                   plan the complementary paratransit services provided for in the Americans
                   with Disabilities Act and should consult in evaluating projects proposed for
                   funding under the New Freedom Initiative.
                   Congress should amend federal transportation law to fund American Indian/
                   Alaskan Native communities directly, providing both operational and capital



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                           assistance for transportation services and for coordination with other state
                           transportation funds.

             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                               SPECIALIZED SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY AND PEOPLE WITH
                                                                         DISABILITIES
                           States and local governments should sufficiently fund public and nonprofit
                           agencies to provide transportation that is planned, designed and carried out
                           to meet the special needs of elderly individuals and individuals with
                           disabilities.


COORDINATION OF HUMAN SERVICES TRANSPORTATION
Background
                           Many nonprofit agencies provide transportation to their services only for
                           their program clients. These agencies often receive capital assistance through
                           the Section 5310 program, administered by the federal Department of
                           Transportation. The result is a specialized transportation system that may be
                           inefficient, complicated and frustrating.
                           To increase coordination, under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient
                           Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users, transportation projects
                           funded by the Elderly and Disabled, New Freedom, and Job Access and
                           Reverse Commute transit programs are required to be derived from locally
                           developed public transit–human services transportation plans. These
                           programs are required to encourage older adults, individuals with disabilities,
                           and individuals with low incomes to participate in the development of
                           coordinated public transit–human services transportation plans.
                           In 2004 Executive Order 13330 established a federal project to coordinate all
                           federal programs associated with human services transportation. The order
                           mandated the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility to seek ways to
                           simplify access to transportation services for people with disabilities, people
                           with lower incomes, and older adults. The resulting United We Ride plan
                           coordinates the transportation programs offered by the Departments of
                           Transportation, Health and Human Services, Labor, Housing and Urban
                           Development, Education, Interior, and Agriculture, and the Veteran’s
                           Administration and Social Security Administration. The coordination efforts
                           center on leadership, planning, operations, technology, customer service,
                           policy, programs and funding.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                       COORDINATION OF HUMAN SERVICES TRANSPORTATION
                           The Federal Transit Administration should ensure coordination of all
                           federally funded transportation programs and services by providing technical


                                                                                              Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                             9-27
                   assistance to states and local agencies on coordinating and carefully
                   monitoring and evaluating the implementation of state-administered plans
                   for federally funded programs.

             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                             COORDINATION OF HUMAN SERVICES TRANSPORTATION
                   State and local jurisdictions should ensure coordination of all transportation
                   programs and services that receive public funding (federal, state or local).
                   Local jurisdictions should provide publicly owned or operated passenger
                   vehicles for the transportation of older people when such vehicles are not
                   otherwise in use.


PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
Background
                   People over age 65 use intercity and charter buses more than any other age
                   group for long-distance travel. These buses are known as over-the-road buses
                   (OTRBs); Greyhound buses are the most familiar example. OTRBs are
                   subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) motor carrier safety
                   regulation. They are also subject to federal regulation under the Americans
                   with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, because of congressional concerns
                   about the expense of making the OTRB fleet accessible when the ADA was
                   enacted in 1990, OTRB operators were not required to comply with the
                   ADA as quickly as public transportation systems were. In 1998 the DOT
                   promulgated regulations requiring that all OTRBs be wheelchair accessible by
                   2012.
                   Intercity and charter buses also provide transportation to recreational
                   opportunities for many older people. However, safety experts increasingly are
                   raising questions about occupant safety in these vehicles. Because of charter-
                   bus crashes in which there were multiple fatalities, the National
                   Transportation Safety Board is considering whether to require charter buses
                   to have safety belts.
                   Private housing or community developments sometimes offer neighborhood
                   transportation services. The ADA does not specify that these privately
                   owned and managed developments are subject to its coverage, but the law
                   does apply to similar private entities, such as colleges, historical sites and
                   airports. For consumers neighborhood transportation provides essential
                   connections between homes and goods and services; it is particularly
                   important for older individuals who are frail or experiencing progressive
                   levels of impairment.
                   Another private mobility option for individuals with disabilities is taxi
                   service. While the ADA prohibits discrimination through actions such as
                   refusing assistance with transporting a wheelchair or charging extra to a


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                           person with a disability, the law does not require taxi owners (who, unlike
                           public transportation systems, do not receive public funding) to have
                           accessible vehicles, such as vans or minivans with lifts or ramps. This may
                           result in many individuals with disabilities having no transportation service if
                           there is no public transportation. Some local governments are addressing this
                           problem by increasing the number of medallions (taxi authorizations) they
                           issue and designating at least some of the added medallions for accessible
                           vehicles. The medallions may be offered to operators at lower cost as an
                           incentive. Other localities require taxi fleets to add accessible vehicles. And in
                           some areas taxi companies are adding accessible vehicles so they can contract
                           with the local public transportation authority to provide ADA paratransit; the
                           accessible vehicles are available for regular taxi service when not providing
                           service under the contract.
                           In addition to regulating the surface transportation provided by privately
                           owned companies, the DOT, through the Federal Aviation Administration
                           (FAA), also regulates air travel. People age 65 and older take approximately 8
                           percent of all commercial airplane trips, according to the 1995 American
                           Travel Survey. The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which the FAA enforces,
                           prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities who travel by air.
                           Unlike the ADA the 1986 law does not guarantee equal access for people
                           with disabilities or provide injunctive relief in court (administrative relief is
                           available). People with disabilities continue to experience many barriers to
                           the use of commercial aircraft and believe that enforcement efforts need to
                           be enhanced.

             FEDERAL POLICY
                                                            PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
                           The Department of Transportation (DOT) should test occupancy-protection
                           systems for charter and intercity buses, including safety belts, to determine
                           which most effectively protects older people and individuals with disabilities
                           and should require the installation of that system.
                           The DOT should accelerate regulation of occupancy safety in charter and
                           intercity buses.
                           Congress should amend the Americans with Disabilities Act to explicitly
                           prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities by transportation
                           services operated by privately developed communities.
                           The Federal Aviation Administration should ensure the accessibility of
                           commercial aircraft to people with disabilities through active implementation
                           of the Air Carrier Access Act.




                                                                                                Transportation

The Policy Book: AARP Public Policies 2007                                                               9-29
             STATE & LOCAL POLICY
                                                    PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
                   States should ensure the safety of intercity and charter vehicles.
                   Local governments should encourage the development of accessible private
                   transportation services (e.g., taxis) through such means as economic
                   incentives, ordinances, and programs that designate medallions for accessible
                   vehicles.




Transportation

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