Elderly Transport as a Social Problem

Senior (College 4th year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・5 Sources

Transportation Challenges for the Elderly in the United States

Transportation is a major challenge for the elderly as the general population in the US continues to age. In less than ten years, roughly 55 million Americans would be more than 65 years. The majority of the elderly live in suburban or rural areas and rely on public transit services. Nevertheless, some of the elderly people cannot drive and lack the means to move around. Both the public and private transport is not effective since most of the people live in areas with less public transport. For those that can access public services, it is difficult to get to the bus or even the seat, especially if the bus is moving. Transit operators only have to provide paratransit within three-quarters of a mile of either side of an existing bus route. Again, most seniors over 65 live in rural or suburban areas have fewer bus routes than urban areas. This has often led to social isolation; hence reduced the quality of life and economic challenges.

Studies on Elderly Transportation Needs

A past study demonstrates that elderly above 65 years make about 15% fewer trips to physicians, 65% fewer trips to visit family or friends, and 59% fewer trips to eat (Bailey, 2004). In another study, elderly men above 70 years require access to public transport for about 6 years while women in the similar age need alternative transportation for about ten years (Foley et al., 2002). Moreover, evidence shows that transportation is one of the main challenges the elderly face, which put elderly American that relies on others for their movement at 26 million (Bailey, 2004). The elderly need transport alternatives for daily activities such as shopping, entertainment, family, and friend visits. Nonetheless, due to continuous automobility and suburbanization, there is inadequate proof that the US is ready to meet transportation problems facing the elderly Americans. This paper looks at elderly transport as a social problem citing Tinley Park, Illinois. It also makes some recommendations.

Analysis of Transportation within the Community Tinley Park

Transportation Initiatives in Tinley Park

Evidence shows that Tinley Park has in the recent past embarked on a program to ensure that all streets are designed in a way that takes into account pedestrians, transit riders, motorists, and bicyclists' needs (Village of Tinley Park, 2012). Moreover, the program has successfully integrated shared lanes to the 167 street between 84th avenues and Harlem. The move aimed to ensure simple and convenient movement of commuters in and around Tinley Park. In addition, Tinley Park is located at the center of 1-80 corridors and directly connected to I-55, I-90, I-94, and I-355 through 1-80, which links motorists to Chicago and surrounding suburbs. The community is also served by daily bus services in and around Tinley Park via Pace Suburb Bus Service. Local buses stop at different learning institutions, shopping centers, Metra stations, and hospitals. However, for special events, there are private transport buses operating from Tinley Park to the United States. With respect to the elderly, Tinley Park offers private and public transit services.

Services for the Elderly in Tinley Park

Tinley Park residents above 56 years have access to public transit services like Senior and Handicapped Bus Service (Village of Tinley Park, 2012). This service is less expensive and drops elderly and the disabled directly where they are going. Consequently, the bus operates from Monday to Friday and customers have to make reservations 24 hours in advance, but for a medical appointment, booking is made 48 hours in advance. Elderly persons in Tinley have access to Metra rail network, a public transit service that operates daily from Joliet to LaSalle Street station in Chicago, with numerous stops. Besides public transport, the elderly people in Tinley Park have access to private services. Private transport system helps the elderly to move around whenever they want (Rosenbloom, 2009). Specifically, there is the Health Advocate Homecare that helps the elderly to move around, drop them to their destinations, and go ahead to help them in their appointments and other errands. For instance, the Health Advocate Homecare takes elderly people to the medical appointment, walk them to the waiting bay and help them back to the vehicle after completing the appointment. On the way back, the private transit helps the elderly do shopping and buy medicine from the pharmacy.

Gaps in Services and Advocacy Plan to Address the Issues

Gaps in Services

It is clear that traditional public transport, private or special demand-responsive transit services cannot fulfill mobility needs of the aging population (DeGood, 2011). Again, there is almost no policy focus to increase transport options that effectively serve the elderly population. A number assume that elderly who face transportation problems or stop driving can use public, private transit, and special demand-responsive mobility services. Some of the sidewalks along the way are not connected.

Advocacy Plan

Various transport options like public and community commuter services can be part of a host of services for the elderly, particularly ones that cannot drive. While these options can only take into consideration the needs of a few seniors, the mobility lost by countless seniors unable to drive needs a rethinking. The way forward would be to implement policies that offer considerably more funding for transport providers to formulate meaningful transport services and enhance special transport services to the elderly. Authorities should also provide not just financial support but also policies that would allow older people to drive safely and by ensuring traffic laws are implemented. Ultimately, advocates and policymakers believe that the degree and policy cost of the available alternations is the best.

Combination of Alternatives

Walking is a beneficial way for elders to move around and also get the opportunity to exercise. For that reason, a community should have sidewalks to ensure walking is not only safe but also convenient. Furthermore, to ensure their mobility walking is not adequate and can be integrated with other alternatives like taking a bus, drive, or have someone drive them. All these options are connected are useful to ensuring a dynamic age-friendly society.

State-wide Programs

State-wide programs should be developed to provide rides to the elders. Under these programs, well-wishers donated cars that are used to meet transport needs of the elderly. The elderly can receive credit for their donation and can also volunteer as drivers to get the credit that they can use later for rides.

The Role of a Social Worker

A social worker can help and bring changes to improvise mobility among the elderly. Specifically, a social worker can advocate for keeping the elderly driving safely for longer. This can be realized by ensuring that the elderly persons get retraining and able to switch to safer smart cars. Moreover, a social worker can help change the design and road signs to respond to the needs of the elders. This is attributed to the fact that in the next five years, one in five people would be over 65 years, hence it is logical to ensure that highways are responsive to the needs of the elderly drivers. A social worker can also make propositions to transport shareholders regarding the need to different alternatives of public transport service- less costly compared to paratransit, however accommodating the older individuals.


Bailey, L. (2004). Surface Transportation Policy Project April 2004.

DeGood, K. (2011). Aging in place, stuck without options: Fixing the mobility crisis threatening the baby boom generation.

Foley, D. J., Heimovitz, H. K., Guralnik, J. M., & Brock, D. B. (2002). Driving life expectancy of persons aged 70 years and older in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 92(8), 1284-1289.

Rosenbloom, S. (2009). Meeting transportation needs in an aging-friendly community. Generations, 33(2), 33-43.

Village of Tinley Park, (2012). Tinley Park Active Transportation Plan. Plan Commission Draft.

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