|By HARRIET EDLESON|
“Out here, it’s cars,”
While he still drives 16 miles — on three freeways — to writers group meetings, he has decided the time has come to plan for a carless future.
On a recent Thursday afternoon he took a first step in that direction. He and his wife, Rosemarie, also 81, drove to the Grossmont trolley station, part of the
But in places like
“All of this is well and good while you have your health,” he added. Yet, he allowed, “You can’t do all the things you used to do.” The Dions contemplate relocating but so far haven’t taken any steps.
“She likes San Diego,”
The situation the Dions face now is likely to become more common as aging baby boomers age even more. During retirement planning, transportation is often an afterthought. Yet, figuring transportation into plans is essential, experts say.
According to the
And yet, most people prefer not to think about the day when they have to rely on others or use public transportation for routine activities. “People avoid the topic,” said
“When people make retirement plans, they make no transportation plans because they assume they’re going to drive forever,” said
Not driving by choice is different from realizing you are no longer fit to drive. Deciding to drive less typically happens incrementally. People might decide to stop driving at night to unfamiliar places, for instance. But regardless of the reason, not driving can limit your autonomy, even your social life, depending on where you live.
Even in places like
But getting from public transportation to your final destination or walking a mile or more to a bus stop could present an insurmountable challenge, especially on freezing winter days or hot, muggy stretches, she said. For some, getting on and off buses could be an obstacle.
When planning ahead, think about whether you prefer to stay in your community, plan to downsize or will relocate. According to a 2014
“If you’re 55, you have to project out into the future,”
In car-oriented areas like
Transportation is the second highest household expense after housing, according the
Those living in households that are car-dependent spend 25 percent of income on transportation. By living closer to work, shopping, restaurants and other amenities, households can reduce transportation costs to 9 percent of their total income.
The Independent Transportation Network requires riders to pre-fund a personal transportation account; riders receive a monthly statement detailing all payments — charges that are often lower than using taxis. Drivers assist riders in reaching their destinations and with packages. No money is exchanged during the ride and tips are not permitted.
Potentially filling the void are a number of new transportation services that provide rides for a fee, including Uber,
Whatever decision you make about where to live and transportation, here are some guidelines from experts:
Analyze your current neighborhood in terms of where you typically need and want to go, and determine how you might reach those places if you weren’t driving. Include leisure activities like classes, entertainment and simply meeting friends. “Think about how you’re going to do that when you can no longer drive,”
Consider the social support where you live. “Think about your network of friends, family, fraternal and faith-based organizations because those are the places where you have established relationships,” said
If you plan to continue driving, AAA offers resources like making sure your car suits you ergonomically and information about renewing your driver’s license where you live.
Consider becoming a volunteer driver through an Independent Transportation Network affiliate as
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|Source:||New York Times Digital|