A new paper commissioned by the National Center for Mobility Management explores the role of public transportation for reducing social isolation and loneliness among older adults. The paper summarizes existing literature and notes a lack of transportation is associated with loneliness, and that rural residents are more likely than urban residents to continue driving when older, likely reflecting the dearth of available alternatives. Public transportation can be a useful alternative, but its limited availability, inflexibility in routes and schedules, and challenges for those with mobility issues mean it is not uniformly utilized. The report also shows that demographic and geographic factors stratify use of public transportation: non-Hispanic white older adults are more likely to drive than are older adults of color, and higher-income older adults are more likely to drive than their lower-income counterparts. The report concludes by recommending more research specific to transportation and social needs and identifies the importance of community input and collaborations between public health and transportation sectors at the community level. #rural #mentalhealth
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