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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

How walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods help seniors

Kaid Benfield

Posted June 5, 2012 in Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  Invest In Transit (by: TransFormCA, creative commons)

The video below, produced by AARP in collaboration with StreetFilms, provides a superb illustration of how walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods can help seniors.  From AARP’s website:

Active Living for All Ages: Creating Neighborhoods Around Transit shows how transit-oriented development (TOD) facilitates the independence and mobility of older adults.  This new six-minute video features conversations with residents, local officials and experts in TOD in Arlington, Virginia—a walkable, mixed-use community with access to a variety of public transit options, entertainment and recreation, and basic services such as shopping and medical services.”

The site also includes a link to a great personal account by an Arlington senior of how important her neighborhood and its assets are to her.

As I noted in one of my earliest blog posts, these are very important issues, borne out by data:

  • 600,000 people ages 70 and older stop driving every year.
  • More than 20 percent of Americans 56 and older do not drive.
  • 3.6 million nondrivers older than 65 stay at home on any given day because they have no other option.
  • Older nondrivers are likely to make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor, 59 percent fewer trips to stores or restaurants, and 65 percent fewer trips to social, family or religious gatherings.
  • The number of senior citizens is expected to double by 2030.

Many communities are beginning to respond, and the video shows how:

 

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Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.  Please also visit NRDC’s sustainable communities video channel.

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Comments

Michael LewynJun 6 2012 10:27 AM

Sure there are lots of seniors who don't drive. But how many of them can walk well enough to reach transit (as opposed to losing their driving/walking ability at roughly the same time?)

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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