Washington, DC Thursday, December 10, 2009 For Immediate Release
America’s aging population is growing at a faster rate than any other U.S. population group. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that by 2030, there will be 9.6 million people age 85 and older – an increase of 73 percent from today. As American’s age, they face challenges with mobility and the continued ability to drive safely.
Four years ago this month, 1,200 delegates to the White House Conference of Aging voted on 73 resolutions. The third highest vote getting resolution, with more than 1,000 votes, was a resolution for expanding transportation options for seniors, including increased funding for public transportation targeted to senior needs. This resolution received more votes than resolutions for Medicare and Social Security.
In support of aging Americans and increased mobility options and opportunities, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is endorsing and participating in Older Driver Safety Awareness Week which is being sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
The goal of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week — December 6-12, 2009 — is to increase safety by informing the public that the aging driver has travel options, and to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensure older adults remain active in the community.
On Friday, December 11, the focus is on older Americans who no longer drive. As Americans age, isolation becomes a growing problem, and access and mobility become increasingly critical needs. Lack of transportation severely affects their ability to take care of basic needs and function as contributing members of society.
“Transportation independence is important for all Americans,” said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President William Millar. “However, access to public transportation is especially crucial for those individuals who no longer drive; by riding public transportation older Americans can maintain their independence”
Public transportation is able to meet the most basic needs of America’s older individuals requiring enhanced mobility option when driving is no longer an option. Public transportation offers older Americans greater freedom to live in a variety of settings; more travel choices, leading to increased mobility; greater access to varied destinations; and enhanced opportunities to lead a full and meaningful life.
In fact, 83 percent of older Americans say that public transit provides easy access to the things they need in everyday life. Public transit is also a vital link for the more than 51 million Americans with disabilities.
For many older Americans, it is a difficult transition from having the independence of driving to relying on other means of transportation to get around their community. When older Americans need to limit or stop driving, public transportation is a reliable option. It will allow older individuals to remain connected to their community and the activities important to them.
To find out more about your public transportation options, go to www.publictransportation.org. Under “Transit Systems,” you can locate public transportation systems in your area and find out which airports have mass transit connections.
Additional endorsing organizations for Older Driver Safety Awareness Week include: AAA, AARP, American Association of Motor Vehicles Administrators, Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, Easter Seals Project ACTION, INTAmerica, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, National Center on Senior Transportation, and the Hartford Financial Services Group.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of over 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passengers services, and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.
Public Transportation Takes Us There is a program of the American Public Transportation Association, its members, and affiliates, to increase support for additional funding for public transportation under the next transportation reauthorization. Based on the unique premise that the benefits of public transportation address a wide range of pressing issues, the campaign – and increased support for public transportation – will help grow America’s economy, create jobs, meet our energy goals, reduce our carbon footprint and enhance the quality of life for all Americans. For more information, visit www.publictransportation.org.
Senior Manager-Media Relations
American Public Transportation Association