Meeting the Need: A Cross-Sectional Assessment of Transportation Alternatives for Suburban Older Adults

University  Florida State University (FSU)
Principal Investigators  Jeffrey Brown, Ph.D.
PI Contact Information  Department of Urban & Regional Planning
Phone: 850.644.8519
Funding Source(s)and Amounts  Provided(by each agency or organization)  USDOT: $13,000
Florida State University: $7,300
Total Project Cost  $20,300
Agency ID or Contract Number  DTRT13-G-UTC42-033177-041281
Start and End Dates 11/29/2017 – 05/04/2018
Brief Description of Research Project 

The percentage of older adults residing in America’s auto-oriented suburbs is projected to grow significantly in the coming decades. When these individuals are no longer able to safely drive themselves, they may seek alternative modes of transportation in order to maintain their independence. In many metro areas, robust public transit exists in the urban core but can be relatively sparse in suburban areas, thus creating a service gap. At the same time, a growing number of elder-service nonprofits have begun to offer transportation services for older clients, leveraging unique staff expertise with elder-care issues in order to fill the service gap. The potential for partnerships between nonprofits and public transit agencies is on the rise, fueled primarily by federal grants and skyrocketing demand for transportation. This dissertation examines the state of affairs in elder-service transportation in the suburbs of three American cities from three perspectives: The elder-service nonprofits innovating programs, the transit agencies partnering with these nonprofits, and the older adults who use these services in order to age in place. The investigation relies on interviews, focus groups, and document analysis as source material. Using a process of axial coding and pattern matching, analysis focuses on the ways in which providers function, partner, and meet the needs of suburban older adults. The results show that these nonprofit innovators are delivering specialized and elder-conscious services that are quite popular with riders, while also often remaining deliberately independent of taxpayer support. Interagency partnerships, although viewed positively by managers in both agency types, are thus limited to short-term contracts that dissipate as the nonprofit matures and secures local funding. Where partnerships do occur, results show a need for simplified reporting of designated outcomes and better information-sharing between agencies. Taken together, the results indicate a rich and varied network of resources being committed to address this critical mobility challenge.

Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented) Place Any Photos Here Final Report
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated) See Final Report