Transit Use Viability Among Older Drivers Losing Driving Privileges

(Center Identification Number: 77601)  Effective January 1, 2004, Florida Statute 322.18, subsection 5, requires drivers 79 years or older to pass vision tests when renewing their six-year licenses. Such a mandate is part of an “age-based” testing regime that several U.S. states have implemented in recent years with respect to enhancing the safety environment afforded to road users. Implementation of “age-based testing” produces a group of travelers who could provide a resource in understanding travel behavior changes and mode choice after driving cessation. The objective of this study is to provide additional insight into travel behavior changes for persons who lose their driving privileges, particularly their interest in, ability to, and subsequent use of public transit. First, a literature review of developments that have impacted senior travel behavior is presented. Developments such as the changing demographics of seniors, senior socio-economic status and the process of driving retirement (i.e., driving reduction ultimately resulting in driving cessation) are then discussed. A descriptive overview of senior travel behavior as derived from analyses of publicly available datasets is complemented by findings from focus group discussions on senior travel behavior. Recommendations originating from this study are as follows: increase the provision of information to seniors regarding their mobility options; continue the adaptation of vehicles to accommodate older travelers; explore additional roles for local transit providers and monitor trends in driving cessation and senior mobility as part of local public transportation planning functions. Knowledge gaps in our understanding of senior travel needs before and after driving cessation are also presented. In conclusion, there is, no doubt, a strong consensus on the desire to find more efficient and cost effective ways to serve the travel needs of older persons, but there is far less consensus regarding the extent of public resources that should be spent to attract more trips into the realm of public responsibility. Download the final report.  Download the technical memo. For more information, contact Steve Polzin at polzin@cutr.usf.edu.