American Foundation for the Blind and VWGoA publish joint report on mobility alternatives for seniors with vision loss

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and Volkswagen Group of America published a joint report on the current landscape of mobility alternatives for seniors with vision loss across the United States.

American Foundation for the Blind

September 5, 2019
Contributed by: Inclusive Mobility Team

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and Volkswagen Group of America published a joint report on the current landscape of mobility alternatives for seniors with vision loss across the United States.

Project VISITOR—the Visually Impaired Seniors’ Independent Travel Opportunities and Resources Project—is a two-part study examining current practices, challenges and solutions related to transportation across urban, suburban, exurban and rural areas for seniors with vision loss.

The study looks at alternatives to the personal vehicle, including paratransit services, public bus transportation, shared ride services, volunteer driving programs, taxi and ride hailing services, and senior residential transportation services.

Phase One surveyed 32 representatives of state agencies, private agencies and independent living centers who work with seniors with vision loss. Results showed that agency representatives who work with seniors perceived transportation alternatives as lacking in affordability, convenience, reliability, flexibility in scheduling, and service quality.

The report also found that transportation in rural / frontier areas, where it exists, is limited. Rural respondents agreed that their community lacks affordable and convenient transportation for seniors with vision loss.

The study identified a number of opportunity areas for improving transportation options for seniors with vision loss who do not drive:

  • Door-to-door service (compared to curb-to-curb service) provides hands-on assistance that seniors with vision loss may need
  • Accessible scheduling systems can facilitate the use of public bus transportation (finding bus stops and reading bus schedules) and ride hailing services (accessible smartphone technology)
  • Agency representatives were optimistic that transportation options would improve with driverless cars, citing the growing demand for transportation services as the U.S. population ages

Part Two of the study is underway and will survey seniors with vision loss across the U.S. to understand their perceptions and the daily challenges they face using transportation alternatives in their communities.

Read the full report here:
Project VISITOR (Phase One): Visually Impaired Seniors' Independent Travel Opportunities and Resources

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