Mobility & Access

For older adults to remain involved and connected in their communities, the built environment must encourage mobility and provide a range of options for people to get where they need and want to go, as well as for their friends, family, and caregivers to get to them. Thoughtfully designed and well-maintained street infrastructure and transportation options provide residents of all ages with access to the services and amenities that make neighborhoods vibrant and residents healthier.

One way communities improve mobility is by embracing complete streets policies—streets that accommodate all kinds of transportation and are suitable and safe for people of all ages and abilities. Sensory and mobility loss commonly associated with aging makes elderly pedestrians vulnerable. Pedestrian crashes resulting in death exceed 20 percent for pedestrians over age 75, compared to less than 8 percent for pedestrians under the age of 14. Complete streets are an age-friendly solution to ensuring that residents of all ages have the opportunity to traverse their neighborhoods and age safely and comfortably.

Public transit, community transportation, human service transportation, and private transportation providers are also essential to a livable community for all ages. n4a’s National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) strives to increase transportation options for older adults to support their ability to live independently in their homes and communities throughout the United States. In addition to the case studies provided here, please see NCST’s best practices website for examples of successful senior transportation models across the country.

The case studies in this section, as well as those available on the NCST website, highlight how communities are making streets safer for residents of all ages, so that they can remain active in their communities.

Case Studies
Promoting Physical Activity: Síclovía, an Open Streets Festival
San Antonio, Texas
To make a splash in the community, the Alamo Area Age Well Live Well program partnered with the YMCA to help older adults enjoy walking, cycling and all types of fun.
*This case study is cross-posted under Health & Wellness.

Pedestrian Safety: Walk Wise, Drive Smart 
Hendersonville, North Carolina
A neighborhood-based project creating pedestrian-friendly environments.

Pedestrian Safety: Safe Routes for Seniors
Santa Barbara County, California
Senior pedestrians provide the local government with critical data on where capital improvement projects will improve safety.

Best Practices from the National Center for Senior Transportation
The National Center for Senior Transportation collects best practices from the field to share as examples of successful models of senior transportation.