The World Health Organization and AARP encourage communities to support healthy aging, social inclusion, and an enhanced quality of life through their age-friendly designation. Age-friendly communities are those which have structures and services accessible to and inclusive of older people with varying needs and capacities. (1)
Two age-friendly core domain areas—Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, and Transportation—are linked to older adults’ transportation, transit, mobility, and safety. Together they address built environment, available and accessible transportation options, connectivity to travel destinations, and driving conditions.
Transportation allows older adults to maintain independence by connecting them to family, friends, health care, and other services. By 2030, one in four Santa Clara County residents will be over age 60; the fastest growing segment of this population is 85 and older. (2)
The transportation, transit, and safety needs of the aging population will impact multiple generations. Older adults often turn to their adult children for assistance when they do not have choices that meet their needs. Conversely, they may be responsible for the care and transportation of the youngest family members. In Santa Clara County, approximately seven percent of children under age 18 live in homes where a grandparent is a householder. (3)
The County, municipalities, and many local organizations have taken steps to create age-friendly communities, but opportunities to create seamless transportation services and traffic safety measures to support older adults remain. Older Adult Transportation and Traffic Safety provide a snapshot of existing transit, mobility, and safety issues in Santa Clara County. It also recommends steps jurisdictions and agencies can take to improve older adult driving, walking, bicycling, transit, and mobility options. The recommendations are found at the end of each section.