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Aging in place : intermodal transportation and options for meeting the unmet transportation needs of nonmetropolitan older adults.
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    Most older adults today depend on driving their own automobiles as their sole mode of transportation, and are reluctant to give up driving. This is problematic because some older adults, especially the oldest old, have deficits that make driving dangerous. For this study, a nationwide random sample of approximately 1200 older adults was surveyed on their driving and riding habits, their trip planning behavior, and their perceptions of five types of possible transportation alternatives communities might set up for older adults (volunteer drivers, point-to-point shuttle buses, senior center-based buses, prepaid taxis, and coordinated bus/train systems to distant medical centers). Results indicated that most older adults drive their own vehicles, and do so on a very regular basis. Most report that they would be devastated if they had to give up driving. Not only do they drive in their own communities, but a sizable proportion frequently drives more than 20 miles from home. Despite frequently driving away from home, most older adults reported that they were uncomfortable driving in unfamiliar cities. Among our sample, which included metropolitan and non-metropolitan older adults, most said that they did not currently use public transportation to get around. Most also said that they would not use any of the transportation alternatives as long as they still drove. However, respondents did say that they were likely to use three of the five alternatives if they could NOT drive. The prepaid taxi alternative was the least popular overall, although it was particularly unpopular among non-metropolitan respondents. Not surprisingly, bus/train systems to distant medical centers were perceived more positively by non-metropolitan residents than by metropolitan residents.
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