J E. Burkhardt

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - demand, ridership - old people, mode - mass transit


Transit, Senior citizens, Public transit, Productivity, Production rate, Older people, Old people, Mass transit, Local transit, Level of service, Improvements, Elderly persons, Demand responsive transportation, Cost effectiveness, Aged


Improvements to public transportation services are being made, or can be made, to offer better public transportation services for older travelers. Communities in which some of the most forward-looking ideas have been applied were examined. A number of short-term, low-cost improvements have been shown to be beneficial, but new perspectives are also needed. In the long run, multiple types of services, offered at varying prices, are needed to replace the one size fits all approach to public transportation with options that riders could choose on their own to fit the specific demands of individual days and trips. Shared-ride, demand-responsive services, dispatched and controlled through advanced technologies, could provide higher levels of service than now available and at higher levels of productivity and cost-effectiveness. Frequent, comfortable, affordable, spontaneous service to a wide variety of origins and destinations over a wide range of service hours is what seniors desire. A serious challenge for the public transportation industry will be finding ways of providing such services while collecting revenues that cover their costs. A key finding of this research is that the transportation service attributes most highly valued by older riders are not markedly different from those valued by other transit riders, so that improvements that would best serve older riders will also attract significant numbers of other riders.