You might be more familiar with a different term, such as “livable communities,” “complete streets,” “lifelong communities”, or even “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 the term, "Aging in Place" and defines it as: "Living in a community with some level of independence in a residence of your choice. This includes having access to services that are needed day to day, while maintaining your independence and quality of life."
Our Coalition established Aging in Place as one of our six focus areas in Florida's Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan. We are developing resources and providing information to help us meet the following objectives:
- Increase the number of livable communities in Florida
- Improve the transportation environment to better accommodate the safety, access, and mobility of aging road users
Working together to address and meet these objectives will help us meet the overall goal of the Aging in Place Focus Area, which is to "promote and encourage practices that support and enhance aging in place".
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:
|Community Design||Getting Around|
Offers a range of housing types at various levels of affordability. Well-designed, shaded, and lighted buildings, streets, sidewalks, and bikeways invite a sense of safety and pride. Streets and civic spaces should be clean, comfortable, and inviting.
Provides safe and easy access to services, amenities, and support services, along with opportunities for healthy living. Offers a wide variety of transportation options for older adults at all levels of ability.
|Street Safety and Security||Neighborhood Support Services|
Provides design features that support safety, access, and mobility. Well-lit, hazard-free sidewalks and paths are essential to encourage walking, an active lifestyle, and to minimize the risk of slips and falls. A high degree of connectivity boosts social interaction and walking.
Encourages participation by providing a range of accessible and affordable activities, employment, and lifelong learning. Offers an adequate range of community, health, and home support services.
COMING SOON! Florida’s Age-Friendly Transportation Checklist
To help you discover whether a community has features and services that are important to help you remain independent, mobile, and active, the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition is developing Age-Friendly Florida’s Transportation Checklist. By completing the checklist, you can evaluate how a community meets your safety and mobility needs to help you successfully age in place. Sign up for our newsletter to receive a notification when this new resource is available.
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.
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. Visit our Engineers and Planners webpage to learn about what you can do to help create a more Livable Florida.|
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.
Nationwide, a total of 1,232 policies are now in place, in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, including 33 state governments, 77 regional planning organizations, and 955 individual municipalities.
More information can be found at the Florida Department of Transportation Complete Streets website.