Part of aging in place well is being able to interact with one's community. Access to transportation is key, both for the older adults to get where they need to go and for rural community members to visit older adults in their homes. Many older adults develop health and mobility impairments that make it difficult to drive themselves. Because of this, it is important to make accessible and safe transportation programs an essential component of livable communities. However, rural areas face unique challenges in providing transportation.
The availability of transportation service differ between rural and metro areas—33% of rural areas have public transportation available compared to 75% of metro core places. Some services like paratransit and dial-a-ride can improve older adults' mobility options, but their availability in rural areas is still limited. There are transportation services funded through the Older Americans Act that are available in 80% of rural areas, but these services are limited to providing transportation to and from medical appointments.
Transportation programs in rural areas to help older adults age in place should prioritize the following:
- Offering rides to activities beyond medical appointments
For more information about transportation, see RHIhub's Transportation to Support Rural Healthcare topic guide.
Resources to Learn More
Aging in Place: A Toolkit for Local Governments
Provides an overview of public transportation issues and some strategies for improvement. It also provides successful aging in place programs. The transportation section of the document starts on page 13.
Author(s): Ball, M.S.
Organization(s): Atlanta Regional Commission, Community Housing Resource Center
Transportation to Support Rural
Provides an overview of transportation as a social determinant of health in rural communities, as well as resources for developing a transportation program.
Organization(s): Rural Health Information Hub