Working our way through
age-friendly domains: Transportation

This issue, let's talk about the role of transportation in age-friendly communities.

First, let's take out all bad jokes and stereotypes about older drivers and focus on what is real and what is important. Transportation isn't just about getting from place A to place B.

Transportation allows us to connect socially, with friends and family. It gets us to important events like doctor appointments, celebrations and religious services. It helps us with a daily need, such as shopping, and can take us away to relax and do our favorite activities, whether at the local library, the shore, a concert or to enjoy a state park. Transportation is a necessity for all people at all ages.

In many NJ communities, 90+% of retirees still own and drive their own cars. Parts of NJ have a solid public transportation system; others are more car-dependent, but transportation is important in all communities.

People tend to change their driving habits as their needs and their abilities change. For example, many people begin to struggle with “night vision” as they age. They may not see clearly in low light or feel uncomfortable, so they stop driving at night. People also alter their driving habits as their comfort levels change, such as choosing slower, local roads instead of hopping on the highway.

What can you do?  

  • Think of what you want as you age. Will you alter your driving habits or give up driving? If so, will you move to an area that has good public transportation, or will you begin to use on-demand services such as Lyft or Uber?

  • Find out what transportation alternatives are in your town. If there are good options for people of any age who do not drive, help promote them. Try them out yourself and give constructive feedback.

  • Advocate for more age-friendly and accessible transportation options. Work to make your community more accessible using a variety of modes, including auto, walking, biking and public transportation.

  • Join with other groups, such as your local public safety committee, business alliance, commuters and PTA to fight for better sidewalks to make walking safe for all.

  • Explore a variety of transportation options – you might find you enjoy not driving everywhere.