Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Older Drivers and Transportation Network Companies: Investigating Opportunities for Increased Safety and Improved Mobility

Abstract

Transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft offer an increasingly popular alternative to driving a personal vehicle. This project investigated the potential of TNCs to increase the safety and enhance the mobility of older adults who are experiencing a decline in driving ability. Interviews with commercial and non-profit transportation providers and focus groups of adults ranging from age 65 to over 85 identified attitudes and perceptions toward TNCs and related services targeting senior adults, as well as ongoing barriers to TNC use by this demographic. Barriers include insufficient familiarity and comfort with using smartphone applications, a lack of knowledge among older adults about how TNCs operate, and lack of availability of TNC services in many rural areas. Increased availability of TNC services targeted toward older adults may help to overcome some of these barriers. The project team developed outreach and education materials for older adults on how to access and use TNC services.

Project Highlights

  • A presentation with speaker notes was developed for outreach to older people that addresses the concerns noted in the study and provides a primer on how to use TNCs. A brochure was also developed to supplement the presentation and for general dissemination that emphasizes the main points in the presentation.
  • This project was highlighted in a presentation to the professional transportation community at an international TRB conference held in Baltimore, MD in the spring of 2019.
  • An education module was developed suitable for use in a classroom lecture at the undergraduate or graduate level. The module consists of a PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes and an accompanying classroom assignment.

Final Report

02-016 Final Research Report (PDF)

EWD & T2 Products

Education Module (pptx): This module was developed suitable for use in a classroom lecture at the undergraduate or graduate level. The module consists of a PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes and an accompanying classroom assignment.

T2 Presentation (pptx) and Brochure (pdf): A presentation with speaker notes was developed for outreach to older people that addresses the concerns noted in the study and provides a primer on how to use TNCs. A brochure was also developed to supplement the presentation and for general dissemination that emphasizes the main points in the presentation. The presentation and the brochure can be distributed to retirement communities, local government agencies, libraries, community centers, churches, and medical offices.

Student Impact Statement (pdf): Two students were funded under this project (Ashley Shortz (PhD) and Eric Wheeler (B.S) from TAMU). This file contains a statement of the impact this project made on these students’ education and workforce development.

Presentations/Publications

Tooley, M. (2019). TRB International Conference on Demand Responsive and Innovative Transportation Services (Breakout Session Connecting DR Passengers), Baltimore, MD, April 15-17, 2019. (Published)

Final Dataset

The final datasets for this project are located in the Safe-D Collection on the VTTI Dataverse; DOI: 10.15787/VTT1/MKMDUS.

Research Investigators (PI*)

Melissa Tooley (TTI/TAMU)*
Laura Higgins (TTI/TAMU)
Ben Ettelman (TTI/TAMU)
Johanna Zmud (TTI/TAMU)

Project Information

Start Date: 2017-9-01
End Date: 2018-10-31
Status: Complete
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $135,391
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: 02-016

Safe-D Theme Areas

Transportation as a Service

Safe-D Application Areas

Risk Assessment
Vulnerable Users
Driver Factors and Interfaces

More Information

RiP URL
UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
3135 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-3135
USA