Mobility managers are consistently looking for ways to coordinate and improve mobility options in the most affordable, efficient, and effective way possible to meet individuals’ transportation needs. As both urban and rural areas increasingly look to improve accessibility to public transportation, they are exploring unique and innovative ways to do so.
One way that communities are working to increase access is through addressing what many refer to as the first-mile/last-mile gap. The role of new service models and technological developments to enhance connections in public transit is important and can be a driver in improving mobility opportunities. Planetizen argues that making transit more time-efficient, minimizing transfers and closing the gap between routes and destinations can make public transit more attractive and encourage people to use it.
Ride-hailing companies are also moving into this space and making an argument for their role in complementing public transportation by addressing the first-mile/last-mile disconnect. Lyft recently announced a partnership with Amtrak, in which customers can use Amtrak’s mobile app to connect to Lyft’s ride hailing platform and schedule a ride. Through creating a more seamless and enjoyable customer experience, Lyft and Amtrak are viewing their partnership as a step in the right direction toward achieving more comprehensive mobility options.
Serving the Vulnerable Serves Everyone
Innovative transit solutions not only need to look at the system as a whole, but also at how to serve vulnerable populations, particularly older adults who by 2030 will account for over 20 percent of the population. A new report by TransitCenter shares recommendations as to how communities can better serve their aging populations. The report emphasizes that healthy aging hinges on supportive and accessible transportation.
Multiple groups have reviewed the TransitCenter report and offered their own take on how communities can improve their transit services for older adults. CityLab offers seven options for stepping up service and how in the end making these changes will not only improve services for elderly adults, but for the population as a whole. Another summary article shared by StreetsBlogUSA outlines five key basics of transportation services that with appropriate updates will assure needed services for the growing population of adults over 65.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers based out of Texas A&M, recently released a report on the economics of transportation needs of the rural elderly. Their recommendations fell into five general categories: theoretical issues, innovative solutions, rural socioeconomic considerations, economic assessment and evaluation of rural transit, and information technology solutions. As communities begin to look at addressing the needs of this population, researchers hope their recommendations will assist in enhancing rural transportation options to improve the quality of life for older adults and other vulnerable populations.
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Image Credit: Lynn Friedman, Flickr, Creative Commons