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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. population will depend more on public transportation after age 65, report says

As baby boomers begin to age well into their 60s, the number of Americans older than age 65 will increase from 35 million today to more than 62 million by 2025, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics — and that means more people will depend on public transportation as they become less willing or able to drive, Surface Transportation Policy Project determined in a recent report.

Based on the National Household Transportation Survey of 2001, the report found that more than one in five Americans age 65 or older don’t drive. In 2001, older non-drivers accounted for 310 million public transportation trips.

But the current public transportation system can’t effectively meet the needs of the country’s aging population, the report says. More than 50 percent of non-drivers older than 65 stay home because they have limited transportation options and half of all adults don’t have public transportation available in their area.

Maintaining the current public transportation system requires a minimum of $14.8 billion in capital investment annually; improving the public transportation system would require $43.9 billion annually, Surface Transportation Policy Project officials believe.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/16/2004