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Aging in Place, Stuck without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boom Generation

April 28, 2014 Comments off

Aging in Place, Stuck without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boom Generation (PDF)
Source: Transportation for America

Only a small percentage of Americans move after they reach retirement age, according to demographic researchers, meaning most will “age in place” in neighborhoods where daily activities require frequent car trips. With rising life expectancies, America’s largest generation will also be the oldest ever. Inevitably, aging experts note, a large share will find that their ability to navigate by vehicle diminishes or disappears over time. These millions of older adults will need affordable alternatives to driving in order to maintain their independence as long as possible.

Many seniors will rely on relatives or friends to take them around, and a smaller number will move to places where services and activities are close by. Pedestrian-friendly streets and recreational trails built with seniors in mind will help older Americans get around safely and remain active, regardless of where they live. But only adequate public transportation services can assure that older adults are able to travel as often or as far as they would like, without worrying about inconveniencing others.

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Survey: To recruit and keep millennials, give them walkable places with good transit and other options

April 28, 2014 Comments off

Survey: To recruit and keep millennials, give them walkable places with good transit and other options
Source: Transportation for America

Four in five millennials say they want to live in places where they have a variety of options to get to jobs, school or daily needs, according to a new survey of Americans age 18-34 in 10 major U.S. cities, released today by The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America.

Three in four say it is likely they will live in a place where they do not need a car to get around. But a majority in all but the largest metros rate their own cities “fair” or “poor” in providing public transportation, and they want more options such as car share and bike share.

The survey focused on the “millennial generation” – those born between 1982 and 2003 – because it is the largest generation in history, and it is the age group that any metro area that hopes to be viable in the future has to attract and keep.

Now, one caveat is that the survey respondents are already living in cities, so some self-selection is involved. Interestingly, though, the aspirations hold true even in cities that don’t have great options at the moment. The survey covered three cities with mature transit systems: Chicago, San Francisco and New York; four cities where transit networks are growing: Minneapolis, Denver, Charlotte and Los Angeles; and three cities making plans to grow their systems: Nashville, Indianapolis and Tampa-St. Petersburg.

One in 9 bridges still “structurally deficient” as average age nears 50 years

June 20, 2013 Comments off

One in 9 bridges still “structurally deficient” as average age nears 50 years
Source: Transportation for America

One in nine of the bridges and overpasses American drivers cross each day is rated in poor enough condition that some could become dangerous or be closed without near-term repair, according to an updated analysis of federal data released today by Transportation for America.

Nearly 67,000 of the nation’s 605,000 bridges are rated “structurally deficient” and are in need of substantial repair or replacement, according to bridge inspections analyzed in The Fix We’re In For: The State of the Nation’s Bridges 2013. Nearly 8,000 are both structurally deficient and “fracture critical”, meaning they are designed with no redundancy in their key structural components, so that if one fails the bridge could collapse. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the backlog of troubled bridges would cost $76 billion to eliminate.

The report ranks states and the District of Columbia in terms of the overall condition of the their bridges, with one having the largest share of deficient bridges, 51 the lowest. Twenty-one states have a higher percentage of deficient bridges than the national average of 11 percent. The five states with the worst bridge conditions have a share over 20 percent: Pennsylvania has the largest share of deteriorating bridges (24.5%), followed by Oklahoma (22.0%), Iowa (21.7%), Rhode Island (21.6%), and South Dakota (20.3%).

At the other end of the spectrum, five states have less than 5 percent of their bridges rated structurally deficient: Nevada and Florida lead the rankings with 2.2%, followed by Texas (2.6%), Arizona (3.2%), and Utah (4.3%).

Thinking Outside the Farebox: Creative Approaches to Financing Transit Projects

June 5, 2013 Comments off

Thinking Outside the Farebox: Creative Approaches to Financing Transit Projects

Source: Transportation for America

The demand for public transportation service is at its highest point in 50 years. The causes are many: rising gas prices, an increasingly urbanized population, growing numbers of seniors, and the preferences of the “millennial” generation. These factors and more are contributing to soaring ridership on existing transit routes. And more communities of all sizes today are looking for funds to build and operate rail and bus lines than ever before.

A combination of ideological gridlock in Congress, dwindling federal gas tax revenues, and the elimination of earmarks have made the traditional approaches to building transit much more challenging. Yet despite these obstacles, many communities are finding creative ways to move ahead.

This guidebook is designed to help community leaders get from Point A—the desire to meet the demand for transit—to Point B—raising the money needed to build and operate it.

Growing public interest in transit is leading many communities to look for ways to expand their offerings, but as more communities seek to develop or expand transit systems, the already over-subscribed traditional federal programs for transit won’t be able to fund every project seeking assistance. To make the money go further, the New Starts transit program has recently covered one-half of project costs, down from 80 percent, with some projects getting as little as one-third of their required total. Even with this policy in effect the waiting list grows longer every year.

But all is not lost. There are ways to pay for new transit investments without waiting so long, and a growing number of communities are pursuing them. But doing so requires more sophistication in the art of project finance than has been needed in the past.

Someday—soon, we hope—the federal government may respond to the high level of demand for new transit investments by increasing funding available to communities. Those of us who aspire to provide these options for people in our communities must continue to work toward that goal. In the meantime, though, we can demonstrate the depth of the need and the strength of our desire by finding our own creative ways to make these projects happen.

This guidebook is a first step toward that goal. Download it for free today.

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options

October 28, 2011 Comments off

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options
Source: Transportation for America

By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

Aging in Place, Stuck without Options ranks metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation, now and in the coming years, and presents other data on aging and transportation.

+ Full Report (PDF)

New Report Ranks Deficient Bridges by Metro Areas

October 20, 2011 Comments off

New Report Ranks Deficient Bridges by Metro Areas
Source: Transportation for America

On the heels of the sudden closure of a major commuting bridge in Louisville, KY, a new report shows that more than 18,000 of the nation’s busiest bridges, clustered in the nation’s metro areas, are rated as “structurally deficient,” according to this new report from Transportation for America.

In Los Angeles, for example, an average 396 drivers cross a deficient bridge every second, the study found. The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Busiest Bridges, ranks 102 metro areas in three population categories based on the percentage of deficient bridges.

The report found that Pittsburgh, PA had the highest percentage of deficient bridges (30.4 percent) for a metro area with a population of over 2 million (and overall). Oklahoma City, OK (19.8 percent) topped the chart for metro areas between 1-2 million, as did Tulsa, OK (27.5 percent) for metro areas between 500,000-1 million.

At the other end of the spectrum, the metro areas that had the smallest percentage of deficient bridges are: Orlando, FL (0.60 percent) for the largest metro areas; Las Vegas (0.20 percent) for mid-sized metro areas; and Fort Myers, FL (0.30 percent) for smaller metro areas.

+ Full Report (PDF)

See also: The Nation’s Busiest Bridges

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options

June 16, 2011 Comments off

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options
Source: Transportation for America

By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

Aging in Place, Stuck without Options ranks metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation, now and in the coming years, and presents other data on aging and transportation.

The analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology evaluates metro areas within each of five size categories. It shows that in just four years, 90 percent of seniors in metro Atlanta will live in neighborhoods with poor access to options other than driving, the worst ranking among metro areas with populations over 3 million. In that size category, metro Atlanta is followed by the Riverside-San Bernardino, CA metro area, along with Houston, Detroit and Dallas. Kansas City tops the list for metros of 1-3 million, followed by Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham.

The transportation issues of an aging America are national in scope, and cash-strapped state and local governments will be looking for federal support in meeting their needs. As Congress prepares this summer to adopt a new, long-term transportation authorization, this report outlines policies to help ensure that older Americans can remain mobile, active and independent.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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