Though a transportation expert disagrees with a news story that
America's aging drivers present a transportation challenge, he does
think there are implications as to how people will get around.
According to the Associated Press, baby
boomers started driving at a young age, got married, built families
and acquired multiple automobiles. They also moved out of town and
into the suburbs, while more people were moving from rural areas
into towns and cities. Meanwhile, more women began working outside
of the home, thus putting more automobiles on the roadways and
So, with thousands of boomers turning 65 each day, how long
people in this population continue to work, where they choose to
live and what methods of transportation they use will have
important ramifications for all Americans, according to AP. For
instance, if boomers stop commuting in large numbers, will rush
hours ease? As age erodes their driving skills, will there be a
greater demand for more public transportation?
Marc Scribner, fellow in land-use and transportation studies for
Enterprise Institute (CEI), discusses some of the factors
involved in this issue.
"I wouldn't necessarily say it's a challenge, but there are
definitely implications as to how people, as they age, are going to
be moving around in the future, especially given that we have so
many new technologies coming online. And we're also seeing broader
demographic shifts on where people chose to live," he tells
Scribner goes on to describes those "implications" and
how they might affect the transportation system.
"For about the past century, we've being seeing a shift from
people living in rural areas to urbanized areas, where trip
distances on average are shorter than if you're living in a rural
location," he notes. "That to the transit advocates means
opportunity for rolling out more transit services."
Though he is not opposed to expanding transit, the CEI
fellow is opposed to what most people think of as transit in
big buses and trains.
"Especially when you're talking about the elderly, I think
paratransit -- using mini-buses and jitneys can be far more
effective, and you're also allowing them access to more
personalized mobility," he remarks. "But the big
game-changer I think we're going to see is the roll-out of
truly driverless car technology. You won't even need
to be a licensed driver to take a single-person trip in a
In an unrelated announcement, the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration said in October that the federal government
would be launching a new research effort to determine
the safety and reliability of technologies that enable cars to