Decision Tool for Older Adult Mobility Investments

The Decision Tool

This project involves developing a tool to improve the odds that active transportation infrastructure that serves older adults will be in place. The tool is currently envisioned as web-based and consist of a handful of required variables (or factors), such as

  • historical and current 65+ population by census tract

  • household income

  • housing policies that affect the types and affordability of housing

  • the active transportation network and transit service (current network, planned network, barriers)

  • development in the pipeline.

The list of items for communities to tailor the tool may include

  • weather impacts

  • topography impacts

  • economic drivers

  • other civic or cultural factors.

The tool should also include community engagement such as a survey or neighborhood-level discussions to determine resident circumstances and preferences. This human-focused information is important for this tool, as it is for any planning process.

Background

Planning for active transportation infrastructure is a well-developed process that typically results in a set of planned investments based on a set of assumptions and priorities. Facets of a community is always changing; predicting today what is needed in five years when planned investments are implemented may result in a mis-match between available active transportation infrastructure and community resident need.

The rate of increase in the proportion of older adults living in a community is well-documented. Many people remain active as they age and may choose where they live based on their ability to remain active, so predicting where older adults will live as they age involves a myriad of factors in the public realm, such as housing policies that affect the cost of housing, as well as lifestyle choices older adults make based on income and where family members live.