By 2050, for the first time in human history, worldwide there will be more people older than 65 than under age 15. According to a recently released report called Shaping Ageing Cities, “older people are less likely to drive, favoring public transport and walking.”
As Friends of White Flint has been saying, creating a walkable, transit-oriented community doesn’t just benefit millennials; seniors win, too. But when we’re designing roads, sidewalks, bike trails, and transit, we need to remember that the average person over 65 manages a walking speed of 3km/hour. At 80 that goes down to 2km/hour, compared with the average for a working age person of 4.8km/hour. Reducing the distance between bus/BRT stops, having benches and trees for shade and rest along walking routes, improving sidewalks, and allowing more time to cross the road are essential modifications that work for everyone.
Suburban sprawl that can be quite isolating for those with limited mobility, including seniors, so new urbanism, and neighborhoods like the Pike District, can be a boon that allows seniors to age in place.