You might be familiar with terms, such as “age-friendly communities,” “complete streets,” “lifelong communities,” or “aging in place.” However, they all share a similar vision and that is for citizens of every age to be able to not just live, but live and age well. Transportation plays a key role as older adults will need safe access to all the different modes of transportation to increase their mobility and community participation.
Florida's Safe Mobility for Life Coalition uses AARP’s deﬁnition of Livable Communities, “A community that is safe and secure. It oﬀers choices in where to live and how to get around. And it equitably serves residents of all ages, ability levels, incomes, races, ethnicities, and other backgrounds."
Livable Communities is one of six focus areas in the Safe Mobility for Life Strategic Action Plan. We are developing resources, materials and providing information to help us achieve the goal of the Livable Communities focus area which is to:
"Create safer and more livable communities through the use of context-based design and by providing access to features and services that meet the mobility needs of an aging population.”- Safe Mobility for Life Strategic Action Plan
The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition would like to spread the word about the benefits of Age-Friendly Communities and share ways to determine how well a community can meet your mobility needs to help you successfully age in place.
Take a few minutes to watch the Age-Friendly Communities in Florida video to learn more about what an Age-Friendly Community can offer.
When it comes to transportation in an Age-Friendly Community, you should consider how well a community’s features and services rank in these four areas:
|Street Safety and Security
An age-friendly community has well-designed, shaded, and well-lit buildings, streets, sidewalks, and bikeways. They invite a sense of equity, safety, and pride and offer a range of affordable housing options where people live in close proximity to shops and services.
An age-friendly community provides design features that support safety, access, and mobility. They contain well-lit, hazard-free sidewalks and paths, which are essential to encourage walking and biking, an active lifestyle, and minimize the risk of slips and falls. It offers a high degree of connectivity to help boost social interaction and active transportation.
|Neighborhood Support Services
An age-friendly community provides safe, easy, and equitable access to transportation services, amenities, and support services. It offers a wide variety of viable transportation options for people of all ages and with all physical and cognitive abilities to maintain their safe mobility and connection to the community, beyond driving.
An age-friendly community encourages participation by providing access to a range of affordable activities, employment, and lifelong learning. It also offers an adequate range of community, health, and home support services.
The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition, in partnership with AARP Florida, updated the Age-Friendly Florida’s Transportation Checklist to help you assess if a community has the features and services that are important to help you remain safe, mobile, and independent. This revised interactive Checklist will help you evaluate how well a community meets your safety and mobility needs in the categories of Community Design, Street Safety and Security, Getting Around, and Neighborhood Support Services. Each category includes scoring to provide you an opportunity to best weigh your needs and preferences as well as a list of resources to help you learn more about the category as it relates to livable communities.
The Age-Friendly Florida’s Transportation Checklist is now available in two formats:
- An interactive on-line version that you can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here.
- A printed version that can be ordered from our Resource Center.
No matter which format you choose, once you complete the Checklist you will learn how well your community addresses your personal mobility needs.
Biking and Walking
In Florida, we have the benefit of being able to bike and walk in nice weather all year long. Biking and walking are great ways to get around and can be the perfect way to add to some physical activity into your day. Next time you must complete an errand or attend a social event, try biking or walking to your destination.
If there are sidewalks from your house to a nearby park, shopping plaza or medical facility, consider walking, even if it is just once a week. Learn more about incorporating walking as a safe transportation option in the Walking: Tips on How to Use Transportation Options in Florida booklet.
There are also many shops and restaurants that are easily accessible along trails and bike paths. If you have access to these routes, explore them and see what new stops you find along the way. You can use the Bicycling: Tips on How to Use Transportation Options in Florida booklet to sharpen you safe bicycling skills.
You may not have considered riding a bus or train, or scheduling door-to-door paratransit service to get to work, a doctor’s appointment or to visit with friends and family, but in communities throughout Florida, these are great options to get you where you want to go.
The Safe Mobility for Life transit page is a great place to begin exploring transit as a transportation option. Find out what options are available in your community and learn about Travel Trainers and Community Transportation Coordinators who can help you navigate these systems. You can also check out our brief webinar that addresses the importance of mobility independence and teaches you how to use FindaRideFlorida.org and other available community services.
Transportation Network Companies
Use Uber or Lyft, known as transportation network companies (TNC), operate as on-demand service to get you to the places you want to go. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can request a ride through their mobile browser by typing “m” instead of “www”. Example: m.lyft.com. Our TNC brochure shares this tip and others to help you get started. Download or order yours in the Safe Mobility for Life Resource Center.
Discover your local and statewide transportation options with Find a Ride Florida, an online listing of transportation service providers in all of Florida's 67 counties.
Visit FindaRideFlorida.org to see which transportation service providers are available in your area.
Get involved and bring age-friendly features and designs to your community!
|Try a transportation option in your community: consider biking, walking, riding the bus or requesting a transportation network company to complete your next errand.
|Get things started in your community by becoming an advocate for Age-Friendly Communities. Visit AARP.org/livable-communities to learn more!
|Help build communities that support people of all ages and abilities. Review and support the objectives and strategies in the Livable Communities Focus Area in the Safe Mobility for Life Strategic Action Plan.
AARP Florida's Age Friendly Communities have met the standards to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic, and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults.
From Tallahassee to Miami, you can find cities, counties, and towns committing to initiatives that connect people of all ages to community and social events, health care providers, shopping, and more. Several areas in Florida have already started AARP Florida's age-friendly initiatives. They are making plans to enhance or add trails and bike paths, provide transportation options, incorporate connectivity by assessing sidewalks and safety, and so much more.
Visit AARP Florida’s Livable Community website to learn more and view the list of current age-friendly communities.
Additional AARP resources:
- AARP Livability Fact Sheets are a package of eleven comprehensive, easy-to-read livability fact sheets that can be used by community leaders, policymakers, citizen activists and others to learn about and explain what makes a city, town, or neighborhood a great place for people of all ages.
- AARP Livability Index Tool is an interactive website to help measure the quality of life in communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement. It allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their communities more livable.
The Department of Elder Affairs' (DOEA) Livable Florida is a statewide initiative that assists Florida cities, towns and counties in planning and implementing improvements that benefit their residents, both youth and elder. This initiative focuses on housing, health/wellness, injury prevention, and transportation and mobility.
On April 23, 2019, Florida was designated an Age-Friendly State, becoming the largest state in the nation the join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Through the Age-Friendly process, the state is working to establish Livable Florida – a place people of all ages will want to call home.
Learn more about the Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ Livable Florida and the 8 Domains of Livability.
Complete Streets policies—including laws, resolutions, executive orders, policies, and planning, and design documents—encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity, or how they travel. The Coalition evaluates policies based on 10 policy elements, including the policy’s vision, the project types included, and the next steps for implementation, among others.
FDOT is making major strides toward improving pedestrian and bicycle safety through its Complete Streets Implementation initiative. One of FDOT's most innovative achievements has been the recent adoption of eight context classifications to guide road design decisions. While the concept of context classification is not new, FDOT is one of the first states to operationalize it within formal decision-making processes.
According to Smart Growth America, in total, more than 1,600 Complete Streets policies have been passed in the United States, including those adopted by 35 state governments, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
More information can be found at the Florida Department of Transportation Complete Streets website.