With the growing preference of the generation of ageing baby boomers to age in place, mobility has played an increasingly important role in their continued physical and mental well-being. As older adults drive less, their ability to travel freely where and when they desire becomes increasingly limited. Consequences of this include the cessation of various activities and services that are necessary for daily living. Transportation immobility is known to negatively impact the quality of life through physical, mental, and social isolation. For any initiative or policy to be put in place, an assessment of the current state of transportation services, specifically for older adults, needs to be carried out. The purpose of this paper is to assess the access to public transit in the Greater Lansing, Michigan region, which has a population density of about 2,042 people per square kilometre, available to ageing adults, especially when they have to stop driving.
The study uses a spatial approach through the use of geographical information systems to assess the transit infrastructure available for use by older adults in the Greater Lansing region.
This paper finds a considerable gap in available options and that some of these can be addressed by quite simple actions and initiatives.
Because the data were drawn from the US Census, the spatial analysis is limited to block-level data. The US Census (2011) defines blocks as “statistical areas bounded by visible features such as roads, streams, and railroad tracks, and by nonvisible boundaries such as property lines, city, township, school district, county limits and short line-of-sight extensions of roads”. More detailed geographical data would have enabled a more comprehensive analysis.
This study area is typical of many small towns in the USA and underlines the need for more policy- and community-led transit initiatives to address this critical barrier to optimal ageing.
This paper fulfils an identified need to study the transit infrastructure of a range of urban areas and ascertain whether it currently fulfils mobility needs of older adults who do not drive.
Funding: this research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Conflict of interest: there are no conflicting interests associated with this paper/research.
Kotval-K, Z. (2017), "Transit accessibility for older adults in the Greater Lansing, Michigan region", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 175-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/QAOA-08-2016-0032Download as .RIS
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