Helping Seniors Stay Mobile

people_illustration_sm_tallThe Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) had a mandate to best serve the over-75 population of Northern Virginia. To do so, NVTC needed to determine current needs and usage, and map both back to available public transportation options. WBA created a two-phased program of quantitative and qualitative research, plus evaluation of a live training session pilot program.

Overall goals of the research included:

  • Determine demographic trends in Northern Virginia’s aging population;
  • Determine travel needs and differences among seniors 75+;
  • Determine transportation services available and utilization rates;
  • Determine attitudes towards public transportation options (both current and proposed);
  • Collect information in regards to dwelling unit and convenience of public transportation; and
  • Collect feedback about isolation issues facing this population in particular.

Phase one employed quantitative telephone interviews, focus groups and in-depth one-on-ones (for those unable to attend focus groups). Out of this came recommendations to encourage senior use of public transportation, expand supplemental services, and increase travel options through attention to the built environment. Phase two evaluated training sessions given to seniors over 75 on how to best use the bus and rail options available to them. WBA administered a short written survey immediately following the trainings and then conducted three-and six-month follow-up interviews by phone.

In this way, NVTC was able to determine utilization of their service, the value of the sessions and what improvements could be made so to create the greatest benefit for Northern Virginia seniors.

Program Highlights

  • Two-phase program
  • Quantitative and qualitative research
  • Quantitative telephone interviews, focus groups, in-depth one-on-ones
  • Training on use of public transit, with follow-up surveys and interviews