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Scot found this in Vox:

Once seniors are too old to drive, our transportation system totally fails them


Sprawl forces seniors to drive (even when it’s not safe)

Anyone who lives long enough will likely lose the ability to safely operate a car. But most states don’t require driving tests for elderly drivers renewing their licenses.

Many keep driving for longer than they should — and that can be seen in data on fatal crashes:

(Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Drivers are way more likely to be involved in fatal crashes past the age of 75. And for those 85-plus, the data is even worse than it is for teens.

This is mostly because in the event of a crash, older drivers are more likely to die from injuries than younger ones. But it’s partly because older drivers have deteriorating vision and reaction time, which leads to more crashes overall.

This doesn’t mean we should blame senior citizens for wanting to drive — it’s an overlooked cost of a system that gives them no choice. …

Once seniors stop driving, those who remain in suburban homes are marooned in an environment designed to be traversed by car. The most obvious problem, says Stephen Golant, a gerontologist at the University of Florida, is access to goods and services.

But seniors who are isolated also have worse health outcomes and lower life expectancies, even after adjusting for preexisting health conditions and other factors. This may be because they’re less likely to get health advice and monitoring from family and friends and also because they miss the emotional benefits of regular human contact. …

In surveys, more than 90 percent of senior citizens say they want to stay in their current homes as long as possible. Right now, if they want to avoid isolation, they’re often forced to give that up. …

… for those who live in sprawling suburbs not designed to be serviced by public transit, trying to use paratransit can be difficult — if not impossible. …


New solutions to senior transportation

The good news is that some communities and organizations are experimenting with new approaches.

Some are attempts to change development patterns in areas where seniors live. …

Other experts are optimistic that new technologies can help fill in the gap. “I think the Uber model is increasingly going to be important,” says Golant. “All kinds of products and services will increasingly be at the fingertips of all people, including seniors.”

He suggests that cities might start subsidizing Uber or Lyft rides for people who qualify for paratransit, as a more efficient way of allocating transit money. As an alternative, Stafford envisions nonprofit ride-sharing apps specifically tailored to seniors — and perhaps delivery of groceries and other goods as well.

More than anything else, self-driving cars could revolutionize seniors’ transportation options. Widespread self-driving technology is still years away, but Google has programmed cars that can safely navigate a heavily mapped area in Northern California.

Some experts are skeptical that they’ll ever be functional in real-world driving conditions across the country. But if they do, they could provide an easy means of getting around for people who can no longer drive — allowing millions of seniors to remain in their homes without becoming isolated.