Aging Boomer Suburbanites: The Coming Transit Disaster

The suburbs are not conducive to the aging baby boomers that populate them. How do we prepare?

August 31, 2015, 5:00 AM PDT

By Emily Calhoun


radcliffe dacanay / flickr

Lloyd Alter predicts a coming calamity in the suburbs, as aging boomers become less mobile in an unaccommodating environment. "The fact is, there is a major urban planning disaster staring us all in the face, which is going to seriously hit everyone young and old in about 10 years when the oldest boomers are 78."

There are currently an estimated 76 million people born 1946-1964 in the United States. Persons 68 and over own more than half of the owner-occupied homes, and "an estimated 70 percent of Baby Boomers live in areas served by limited or no public transit," writes Jane Gould in her book, Aging in Suburbia: The Must-Have Conversation About Homes and Driving.

Alter suggests the need for New Urbanist developments that provide Main Street-style convenience to retail, recreation and health amenities. He also suggests that technology can play a role: self-driving cars can run errands and the Internet-enabled sharing economy can accommodate resource pooling.

"The share economy is likely to reinvent personal transportation and make it more feasible for Boomers to age in place, if that is their true wish," Gould writes.

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