The pending mobility crisis?

Within the next four years nearly a quarter million Minnesota seniors will be living in areas with little to no access to public transportation. That’s finding is part of a new analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

The Alexandria Echo Press provides some added context.

“The aging rural population is starting to explode, we are just seeing the beginnings of it,” says Pam Smith, Marketing/Public Relations Coordinator of Arrowhead Transit, a nonprofit provider the report calls a model of best practices, using “effectively coordinated transportation services” which improves “service productivity and reduces costs by eliminating overlapping, duplicative and inefficient operations.”

Without access to affordable travel options, seniors age 65 and older who no longer drive make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor, 59 percent fewer trips to shop or eat out, and 65 percent fewer trips to visit friends and family, than drivers of the same age, research shows. As the cost of owning and fuelling a vehicle rises, many older Americans who can still drive nonetheless will be looking for lower-cost options.

The scenario is particularly bad for Duluth. Click the maps below for a larger view.

Each map is color-coded at the Census block group level to show both the intensity of public transportation – whether “poor,” “moderate” or “good” levels of service – and the density of seniors. By combining both variables into one scale, these maps show how “aging in place” creates a dramatic mismatch between transit services and senior demand. The first map for each case study overlays the population over 64 with areas of poor transit access in the year 2000. The second map shows the population age 65-79 projected to have poor transit access in 2015.

Transit Access for Seniors Age 65 and Older in 2000


Transit Access for Seniors Age 65-79 in 2015