Transforming Transportation Reaps Cross-Generational Benefits

Elected leaders are prioritizing how citizens get to where they need to go.
NANCY LEMOND, CHIEF ADVOCACY & ENGAGEMENT OFFICER, AARP | May 19, 2017

Editor’s Note: In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our nation’s transit systems and roads a D grade, estimating it would cost $170 billion annually to significantly improve the conditions of our roadways alone. To make their communities places where people want to live, mayors need to ensure transportation is safe and accessible for residents of all ages. Transforming transportation to meet these needs has been and will remain a top priority for elected leaders across the country. 

 
To help citizens get to where they need to go, connect to each other and to their community, it’s important to offer a variety of safe and convenient transportation options. That means thinking beyond car-focused roads. Sidewalks and crosswalks encourage walking – something particularly important for older residents who prefer not to drive. Bike lanes help residents get around on two-wheels instead of four. And, public transit helps people of all ages get to work, school, medical appointments and social activities. Mayors across the country are transforming transportation to make it easier and safer for residents to navigate their communities.

In Birmingham, Ala., Mayor William A. Bell, Sr., connected his community through the Complete Streets initiative. With an aim to make roadways safer and more accessible for all users, the initiative includes a 29-mile system with new sidewalks and bike lanes that link the city’s major businesses, schools and neighborhoods.

A bike-share program, spearheaded by Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, provides residents an environmentally friendly travel and recreation option. By connecting with New York’s 6,000 bike-share system, people have more options to connect with family and friends in the Big Apple.

Former West Hartford, Conn. Mayor Robert Scott Slifka was committed to providing accessible and affordable transit options for all ages. For instance, ITNCentralCT – an independent nonprofit agency – delivers free, 24-hour transportation to residents who are 60 or older and those who have visual impairments.

Read more transportation transformation stories here.