AARP Report Calls for Better Specialized Transportation to Serve Older Americans and Others

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–April 26, 2010.  A comprehensive new report from AARP defines key issues at the forefront of Congressional consideration of transportation for older Americans and others with special mobility needs. The report “Policy Options to Improve Specialized Transportation” from AARP’s Public Policy Institute also highlights a set of policy options many believe will improve specialized transportation programs as demand for these services increases.

“Specialized transportation is fully understood by far too few legislators and policy makers,” said Susan Reinhard, AARP’s Senior Vice President for Public Policy “But senior transit, medical transportation and job transportation are lifelines that need to be strengthened and adequately funded to provide more options for older Americans and people with disabilities to get where they need to go.”

“Policy Options to Improve Specialized Transportation” is intended to serve as a brief survey of specialized transportation. It describes and distinguishes between the three federal specialized transportation programs that serve older Americans and others with mobility limitations. It explains how they currently are funded, fits them into the big picture of America’s transportation system and defines the terms of art and policy options likely to be central to the upcoming debate over their funding.

The report also calls for Congress, program administrators and transportation providers to change the focus on specialized transportation from funding hardware and vehicles to planning for how people get safely, comfortably and conveniently from one place to the next. Specifically it calls for:

* strengthening coordinated planning among programs at the state and local levels,

* continued funding for people-centered transportation, also known as “mobility management,”

* expanded program flexibility, and

* additional research to determine program effectiveness and how the three specialized transportation programs funded by the Federal Transit Administration can work better together

“Policymakers and their staff members will find this report particularly useful as they plan for the future transportation needs of an aging population that is living longer and healthier,” said Reinhard.

“Policy Options to Improve Specialized Transportation” also highlights emerging best practices in planning and operating transportation for older Americans and people with disabilities.