Older Adults

Older Adults

Federal programs supporting older adult transportation needs are largely aligned with helping older adults live independently in the living situation of their choice. The U.S. Depts. of Transportation, Labor, and Health and Human Services all have programs targeting this need.


Identifying the value of transportation

Begin with the mission of the CCAM-funded agency and ask, “How can transportation access contribute to the success of that mission?” For agencies serving older adults the importance of transportation may be tied to one or more of these value statements, which can serve as starting discussion points:


When older adults have access to transportation. . .
  • They are able to live in the environment they choose, whether it be their family home or a different, more appropriate dwelling.
  • They can access essential destinations that keep them healthy and allow them to contribute to their community in the way they choose.
  • They have more reliable access to sources for healthy food, leading to improved nutrition and overall health.
  • It can support older adults’ mental well-being by allowing them to reduce their social isolation by engaging in activities that are meaningful to them.

Program Listing

Below is a detailed description of programs relating to older adults. Each listing contains what type of transportation support is allowable, a brief program description, and ways for both mobility management professionals and program staff from other agencies to connect.

Table of Contents

Listing Key
Direct Support

Funding for transportation on an individual basis. This includes things like transit passes or gas vouchers.

Direct Service

Program staff provide transportation services directly or can contract for services.

Local Match Eligible

Program’s funds can be used as federal match to FTA transportation grants or other federal programs. 

U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration
Program Description:

The program aims to improve mobility for older adults and people with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation service and expanding transportation mobility options. This program supports transportation services planned, designed, and carried out to meet the transportation needs of older adults and people with disabilities in all areas – large urbanized (over 200,000), small urbanized (50,000-200,000), and rural (under 50,000). The funding can be used for “traditional” or “nontraditional” projects. “Traditional” projects are capital projects as defined in 49 U.S.C. 5302(3). “Nontraditional” projects are capital and/or operating projects that go beyond the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit services or public transportation alternatives designed to assist older adults and people with disabilities. 

Distribution of funds:

Provides formula funding to states and designated recipients to meet the transportation needs of older adults and people with disabilities when the transportation service provided is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate to meeting these needs. Funds are apportioned based on each state’s share of the population for these two groups. For rural and small urban areas, the designated recipient is the state department of transportation, whereas in large urban areas, a designated recipient is chosen by the governor. 

Transportation Support:

Traditional Section 5310 project examples include 1) buses and vans; 2) wheelchair lifts, ramps, and securement devices; 3) transit-related information technology systems, including scheduling/routing/one-call systems; 4) mobility management; and 5) acquisition of transportation services under a contract, lease, or other arrangement. Nontraditional project examples include 1) travel training; 2) volunteer driver programs; 3) construction of an accessible path to a bus stop, including curb-cuts, sidewalks, accessible pedestrian signals or other accessible features; 4) improvements to signage, or way-finding technology; 5) incremental cost of providing same day service or door-to-door service; and 6) purchase of vehicles to support new accessible taxi, rides sharing and/or vanpooling programs.

U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment & Training Administration
Program Description:

SCSEP is a community service and work-based job training program for older Americans that provides training for low-income, unemployed seniors. SCSEP participants gain work experience in a variety of community service activities at nonprofit and public facilities, including schools, hospitals, day care centers, and senior centers.  Participants work an average of 20 hours a week and are paid the highest of federal, state or local minimum wage. This training serves as a bridge to unsubsidized employment opportunities for participants. Participants must be at least 55, unemployed, and have a family income of no more than 125% of the federal poverty level.

Distribution of funds:

The following types of organizations are eligible to receive grants: (1) States; (2) U.S. territories; (3) Public and nonprofit private agency and organizations; and (4) Public or nonprofit national Indian aging organizations and public or nonprofit Pacific Island and Asian American aging organizations

Transportation Support:

A portion of the funds may be used to provide participants with additional trainings, such as occupational skills training, on-the-job experience training, etc. (outside of the normal job-training assignments at a host agency) and supportive services, which may include transportation.

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Administration for Community Living
Program Description:

To encourage State and regional Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to concentrate resources to develop and implement comprehensive and coordinated community-based systems of service for older individuals via statewide planning, and area planning and provision of supportive services, including multipurpose senior centers. The objective of these services and centers is to maximize the informal support provided to older Americans to enable them to remain in their homes and communities. Providing transportation services, in-home services, and other support services, this program insures that elders receive the services they need to remain independent.

Distribution of funds:

Formula grants to state and territorial AAAs [https://acl.gov/programs/aging-and-disability-networks/area-agencies-aging], who then distribute funding to entities, such as Councils on Aging.

Transportation Support:

Each AAA prepares and develops an area plan for a planning and service area. Each plan commits an adequate proportion of  funds for the delivery of the following categories of services— (A) services associated with access to services (transportation, health services, outreach, information and assistance, and case management services); (B) in-home services; and (C) legal assistance. Funds may be used to purchase transportation services for older individuals and may be pooled with funds made available for the provision of transportation services under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and titles XIX and XX of the Social Security Act. Note that grantees may not charge a fare for transportation services but may suggest a donation.


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