Bonnie O’Day, Ph.D., Interim Research Director
Paola Chanes-Mora, Ph.D., Policy Research Specialist
Margaret Roth, TVI, COMS, Intern
Mathis Lauckner, Ph.D., Project Officer
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
Mobility-as-a-Service Team, Engineering and Innovation Center California
March 10, 2020
This was the second phase of the project, “Visually Impaired Seniors’ Independent Travel Opportunities and Resources” (Project VISITOR). 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) from 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.
Over 40% of respondents reported they very often or often lacked transportation to do the things they needed or wanted to do. Most did not leave their house using transportation every day, although many said they would if they had access to transportation any time they wanted. Transportation in rural areas, where it existed, was much more limited in terms of the need to schedule in advance; limited times and days of operation; and jurisdictional coverage.
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.