The United States population is aging: the 65-and-older population grew by over a third from 2010 to 2019. This growing aging adult population impacts communities and planning decisions for transportation and recreation. Many older adults prefer to age in place (remaining in their homes instead of moving to a new location) yet they face physiological changes that can present mobility challenges. Older adults may choose or need to stop driving and instead rely on alternative modes of transportation. Walking and bicycling may introduce new mobility challenges for older adults due to decreased response time, vision issues, reduced muscular range of motion, and risk of falls. Sidewalks, pathways, and crossings that can be easy for a younger person to navigate may be more difficult for an older person. Traffic signals may not provide sufficient time to cross at an intersection and cracks in sidewalks can introduce tripping hazards. Increased frailty that comes with the aging process makes older adults particularly vulnerable to injury and death if they are involved in a crash.

At the same time, communities can take action to prioritize the mobility and safety of older adults. Physical activity, like walking and bicycling, can help prevent feelings of social isolation, build and maintain strength, balance, and physical endurance, and make it possible to access destinations without relying on a motor vehicle. The challenge for communities is to provide transportation networks that accommodate the needs of an aging population.


National Aging and Disability Transportation Center promotes transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers.

AARP Livable Communities program describes a livable community and how AARP is working with local leaders nationwide to make communities more livable for people of all ages.

North American Conference on Elderly Mobility - Noteworthy Practices Guide provides examples of noteworthy practices from the United States and Canada including safe walking and access to transit.

Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population addresses aging road user performance in highway design, operational, and traffic engineering features.

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Neighborhood Slow Zones in New York City describes countermeasures and evaluation used to slow traffic in identified neighborhoods.

Safe Streets for Seniors, New York City highlights the city's pedestrian safety countermeasures in their identified Senior Pedestrian Focus Areas.

walkBoston describes age-friendly walk audits conducted in Massachusetts and offers eight actions for changes to policy and infrastructure.

Walk San Francisco Engaging Seniors in Vision Zero describes a walk audit and community training process.

Cycling Without Age is a worldwide initiative to support older adults with very limited mobility to have the cycling experience without the pedaling.

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