Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NTSB Holds Meetings Concerning Older Drivers

The National Transportation Safety Board is holding meetings yesterday & today on the topic of "Safety, Mobility, and Aging Drivers". This is in reaction to the aging baby boomers and their real & perceived issues in mobility.
While aging drivers are perceived to be the worst menace on the road, that honor still goes to teenagers / new drivers. Accidents in older drivers gets a lot of press but is actually down. The Baby Boomers are really the first generation to grow up in a car saturated society. Many of their parents would not have experienced that til their teens / early twenties FWIW.
There's money in retirement communities & they are all over the place. Thing is, new ones are usually built on virgin land on the outskirts of towns. Other than personal automobiles & tour buses, residents are pretty much stuck on these islands. There is a benefit to these places being somewhat removed as it reigns in Alzheimer's suffering "wanderers". In Cincinnati, Twin Towers requires a person to get to a bus stop but it is on a major bus line affording mobility for quite a few of it's residents using mainstream transit.
We have all seen the short buses for seniors & the disabled. These things run at about 30-40 bucks a ride. Cincinnati has seen reductions & price hikes in these service. This is how many seniors get to see their doctors.
An ideal opportunity is beckoning for these Boomers who are in sound mind, however, with the streetcar project and the developable properties in The CBD, The Banks & Over the Rhine. The connection to Clifton & the medical resources cements it.
With the ease of access for walking challenged people & the smoother ride, the streetcar will be an ideal platform for the older passenger. Proximity to entertainment, shopping, dining & services without the need, hassle & possible problems of having a car make it an ideal combination. The population would make downtown more attractive to doctors & other health care providers as well.
Many of the older buildings will not be practical for handicap access, of course, especially from a restoration POV, but some will be.
I know a lot of people view the streetcar as an opportunity to cart around drunken transient college students, and I know old people are transient in their own way, but this would be a better community building population, bringing it's own brand of diversity, into the basin.

Watch on C-Span here.

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