Funded by Volkswagen Group of America, Future Center California
Project Officer, Mathis Lauckner
Bonnie O’Day, Ph.D., Interim Research Director
Paola Chanes-Mora, Ph.D., Policy Research Specialist
Margaret Roth, TVI, COMS

The research team for the Visually Impaired Seniors’ Independent Travel Opportunities and Resources (Project VISITOR) conducted a survey of organizations and individuals across the United States to identify current promising practices, challenges, and solutions related to transportation for seniors with vision loss.

The study is taking place in two phases. This report contains the findings for Phase One, which consisted of an online survey disseminated to a purposive sample of agencies serving seniors with vision loss in the United States.

Based on 32 responses from urban, exurban and rural areas throughout the country, we find that many senior citizens who are blind or have low vision lack transportation options. Only a few urban/exurban respondents agreed that affordable transportation services exist for seniors with vision loss in their communities and less than half agreed that transportation options are convenient.

Transportation in rural/frontier areas, where it exists, appears to be much more limited. But respondents in both urban and rural communities were hopeful that transportation options will improve in the future, due to driverless cars; the proliferation of Uber and Lyft, which might be good options for some as they become more familiar with accessible smart phone technology to schedule rides; and the growing demand for transportation options as the population ages.

Phase Two will consist of a telephone survey of seniors with low vision about their experiences using different modes of transportation.

Volkswagen Group of America shared their take on the phase one findings in a blog post.