Community-Based Transportation for the Elderly
- Between 1960 and 2003, the number of individuals age 65 and older in America more than doubled, increasing 116 percent. It is expected to nearly double again by 2029, when the last of the boomer generation reaches age 65.
- Currently, almost 7 million persons age 65 and older do not drive. Almost 80 percent of these older non-drivers are women, and more than half have a medical condition that makes travel difficult.
The ability to get around is a key piece of everyone’s quality of life. Easy-to-use, affordable transportation options are essential to accessing health care and other services, as well as maintaining independence. Unfortunately, because of where they live and the lack of transportation alternatives - like public transportation and walkable communities - many elderly are at risk of becoming isolated and immobile.
Studies have shown that public transportation and paratransit service can not by themselves meet the travel needs of a dispersed and ever increasing elderly population. In response to this reality and a growing need, a new type of flexible and affordable transportation service has emerged known as community-based transportation. This new service is regarded as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, conventional public transportation services.
Community-based transportation service can be sponsored by community organizations and faith-based groups. These groups rely on volunteer drivers using their own cars to provide door-to-door transportation service for nearby ambulatory elderly residents who make up the majority of the elderly population.
There are two successful community-based transportation services operating in the Baltimore region – Partners in Care in Anne Arundel County, and Neighbor Ride in Howard County. These two agencies are willing to share their knowledge in helping to set up additional community-based transportation services throughout the Baltimore region and the state.
Want to know more?
- Assessment of Fiscal and Other Effects of Alternative Strategies to Improve Mobility Options for the Elderly in the Baltimore Region (pdf: 56kb)- BMC prepared a report which describes elderly travel options in the Baltimore region, including community-based transportation service.
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