Once seniors are too old to drive, our transportation system totally fails them

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A few years ago, my grandfather gave up his car.

During the early years of his retirement, he’d been very active, volunteering at the local library and chauffeuring older folks who couldn’t drive themselves. Over time, he slowed down, but remained independent — so much so that after a year or so in a retirement home, he stubbornly moved back into his own apartment. Though he was in his 80s, he didn’t like the idea of being surrounded by — as he put it — “old people.”

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.