DATA PAVES THE WAY TO HELP OLDER ADULTS GET AROUND
Central Ohio's 65+ population is expected to double in the next 35 years – and the Baby Boomer generation is hardly slowing down. But as they age, many older adults may lack the ability or desire to drive and own a car. In a region characterized by suburban sprawl that also contains transit deserts, there's risk that many older adults could become socially isolated or cut off from critical services.
By partnering with organizations including Age Friendly Columbus and Franklin County, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), Smart Columbus aims to improve access to safe, car-free transportation for older central Ohio residents.
We’ve curated a series of data sets, that when combined, may help unlock solutions that will help older adults to continue to get to healthcare, religious centers, recreation centers, grocery stores, volunteering opportuntiies, leisure facilities and more without relying on a car.
Data sets now available within the operating system include:
- Geographic density of older residents
- Geographic distribution of vulnerable older residents
- COTA transit schedules and routes
- COTA one – minute refresh GPS data (archived and dynamic)
- Sidewalk existance maps from MORPC
- Sidewalk condition data
- Crosswalk types and facilities
- Traffic/crossing signal cycles and timing
- Locations of healthcare services, food services, shopping destinations and more
This data may be combined and leveraged to simply, affordably and safely connect older people to appropriate transportation to and from the age-friendly destinations and services they need.
Some considerations that we recommend evaluating when developing solutions for older adults:
- Mode of access – via web, app and phone, and available with and without internet access
- Mobility ability – end users’ use of an assistive device, ambulation, wheelchairs, etc.
- Safe access – routes that feature curb cutouts, crosswalk countdowns, etc.
- Caregiver access – the ability for remote caregivers to access the location of their client or loved one
- Disability compliance – Section 508 accessibility standards can help ensure accessibility for all users