The research team for the Visually Impaired Seniors’ Independent Travel Opportunities and Resources (Project VISITOR) conducted a survey of organizations and individuals across the United States to identify current promising practices, challenges, and solutions related to transportation for seniors with vision loss.
The study took place in two phases:
Phase One: Online Survey
Phase One consisted of an online survey disseminated to a purposive sample of agencies serving seniors with vision loss in the United States. Based on 32 responses from urban, exurban and rural areas throughout the country, we found that many senior citizens who are blind or have low vision lacked transportation options. Only a few urban/exurban respondents agreed that affordable transportation services existed for seniors with vision loss in their communities and less than half agreed that transportation options were convenient.
Transportation in rural/frontier areas, where it existed, appeared to be much more limited. But respondents in both urban and rural communities were hopeful that transportation options will improve in the future, due to driverless cars; the proliferation of Uber and Lyft, which might be good options for some as they become more familiar with accessible smart phone technology to schedule rides; and the growing demand for transportation options as the population ages.
Phase Two: Telephone Survey
In Phase Two, 81 older people with vision loss were interviewed by telephone to learn about their experiences using public or private transportation. Respondents were age 55 and over and blind or visually impaired (B/VI) and resided in urban, urban cluster, and rural areas throughout the United States. They described their patterns of transportation use and the barriers they faced in using different modes of transportation. We found that respondents lacked transportation options, or faced significant barriers using available transportation.
Respondents were hopeful that transportation options will improve in the future, due to driverless cars; the proliferation of rideshare services, which might be good options for some as they become more familiar with accessible smartphone technology to schedule rides; and the growing demand for transportation options as the population ages.
Funded by Volkswagen Group of America, Future Center California
Project Officer, Mathis Lauckner
Bonnie O’Day, Ph.D., Interim Research Director
Paola Chanes-Mora, Ph.D., Policy Research Specialist
Margaret Roth, TVI, COMS